Did you know your furnace filter helps to manage your home’s Indoor Air Quality? It traps the unwanted dirt and dust particles we unknowingly produce and prevents them from recirculating through your home. By reducing the amount of dust and dirt in the air, indoor allergies become less of an issue. Ensure you have the right filter for your needs and know when and how to change it by reading the tips and tricks below.

how a air filter works

Quick Fact: Household Furnace filters have different ratings based on how dense the filter fabric is. Ratings are called MERV – Minimum Efficiency Rating Value and are often rated on a scale of 1-16, with 1 being the least dense and 16 being the densest.

We recommend Napoleon’s MERV 11 filter for your HVAC system.
MERV 11 Filters Remove:

  • Pollen
  • Dust/Lint
  • Dust Mites
  • Debris

Types of Filters

Disposable $10 – $110

Disposable filters are less expensive and more common. They come in varying ratings and sizes, meaning you can easily get what you need quickly.

Washable $20 – $90

Washable filters are just that, washable. They need very specific maintenance to do their best work, and come in a range of ratings and sizes just like disposable ones. These should be replaced every five years if properly maintained.

Electrostatic $40 – $60

These filters come in disposable and washable varieties, they work by self-charging the air as it passes through giving the things you are trying to trap an electric charge that will attract them to the filter itself and trapping more contaminants. This is especially great for households with pets or smokers.

Hepa $20 – $120

Hepa filters are the strong filters. You may have one on your vacuum. These are for people with allergies or special needs when it comes to indoor air quality. However, they may be too dense for your furnace’s capabilities, and could restrict airflow.

Each one of these has its own strengths, weaknesses, and cost when it comes to your continued air quality. But how do you know which is the right one?

Size matters


Size refers to the particles you are trying to trap in the filter, not the actual size of the filter itself. When we look at the MERV rating scale to evaluate which filter is more effective for our home, we need to consider that a higher rating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best choice for you. The higher the MERV rating the lower the airflow, which could make your heating and cooling system work harder and potentially inefficient. Furthermore, reducing airflow can actually make your air quality worse!

It’s all about finding the right balance. A filter rated between MERV 8 and 13 can handle pretty
much everything in a typical household and should be just right to maintain your indoor air quality and air circulation. Anything higher is usually found in healthcare settings like hospitals. If you have environmental allergies or are immunocompromised you may want something a little stronger in a filter. Consult a certified heating and cooling specialist for help making sure that your equipment can handle it.

How to change a furnace filter


Your filter needs to be changed every 4 to 9 months, especially in households with smokers or pets. Washable filters need to be cleaned every 3 months to stay effective.

How to change a disposable furnace filter

  1. Turn off the furnace and furnace fan so that loose dust will not get circulated while you’re working.
  2. Locate where the filter is held and gently slide it out into a waiting bag or bin. Be careful not to jostle it or shake it, those particles are no longer contained and will break free into the air.
  3. If it’s been a while, you may need to vacuum in and around the filter housing.
  4. Remove the new filter from any packaging as necessary, Using a permanent marker, write the date on the frame, so you know when it was last changed, and slide the filter into the filter housing. Ensure that the -> arrow is pointing towards the furnace.

How to change a washable furnace filter

  1. Turn off the furnace and furnace fan so that loose dust will not get circulated while you’re working.
  2. Locate where the filter is held and gently slide it out into a waiting bin. Be careful not to jostle it or shake it, those particles are no longer contained and will break free into the air.
  3. Vacuum in and around the filter housing.
  4. Use a vacuum to suck up the worst of the loose particulates, then rinse the filter under running water, you can use the hose outside if you like.
  5. Allow the filter to dry completely before returning it to the filter housing. Ensure that the -> arrow is pointing towards the furnace.

PRO TIPS:

Furnace filters come in a variety of sizes. If you don’t already know the size of the filter you need, it will be printed on the border of your current filter.

Turn off your furnace, or air conditioner, while changing the filter, this will ensure that it doesn’t accidentally come on while you’re working, or waiting for the washable filter to dry.

Now that you know how to help that silent hero, the furnace filter, battling grime in the dark depths of your furnace, are you inspired to clean it? You can find out why it’s so important to clean your furnace filter by reading up on Indoor Air Pollution. To keep up to date with more tips and articles on Napoleon Heating And Cooling Products, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Happy Heating.

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