Blog - Heating and Cooling- HVAC
Changing The Furnace Filter: A Must During Winter
Chicago winters can be brutal, and keeping your furnace running safely and efficiently is crucial to staying comfortable for the duration of the cold weather. In addition to an annual preventive tune-up by an HVAC professional, changing the furnace filter each month will help keep your system in top working order all season long.
The purpose of your filter
- It prevents dust and other particles from building up on your system's fan and heat exchanger, which can result in overheating, cracked components and expensive repair bills.
- It maintains proper airflow to your furnace. A dirty filter impedes airflow to your furnace and makes your system work harder to keep you warm, resulting in higher energy bills.
- It keeps the air in your home clean. The air in the typical home contains particles such as dust, animal dander, viruses, mold and bacteria. A good quality, clean air filter will trap most of these particles, improving your indoor air quality and reducing flare-ups of allergies and asthma.
Choosing a filter
Furnace air filters are given a rating on the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, scale. Higher MERV ratings translate to filters that trap more and smaller particles.
- MERV 1 to 4 filters trap only particles larger than 10 microns in size. These inexpensive filters do little to improve the air quality in your home.
- MERV 5 to 8 filters are sufficient for most residential needs, trapping particles between 3 and 10 microns in size.
- MERV 9 to 12 filters trap particles as small as 1 micron in size and are ideal for allergy and asthma sufferers.
- MERV 13 to 16 filters are generally only used in commercial buildings, trapping particles as small as .03 microns in size.
It's important to note that higher MERV filters are thicker and denser, and may actually impede the flow of air to your system. Before upgrading your filter, check the specs of your furnace to determine which filters will work with your system.
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For more expert advice on changing the furnace filter, please contact us at Nicor Home Services. Our dealers can answer your questions and help you choose the right filter for your needs.
*Nicor Services and Nicor Home Services are affiliates of Nicor Gas and are not regulated by the Illinois Commerce Commission. Customers are not required to buy products or services from either Nicor Services or Nicor Home Services in order to receive the same quality service from the gas utility.