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Your furnace is the most expensive 'appliance' in your home.  It is also the most important appliance in your home.  In Canada, we do have extreme temperatures ranging from +30 Degrees C in Summer to -30 Degrees C in Winter.  Without a furnace, your home would have the same temperature as outdoors, and you, your family, your pets and all items in your home would pay the price! 

Your furnace filter is the most important component of your furnace as it protects it from unwanted debris, which can inhibit the performance of your system.  Studies show that 9 out of 10 furnace failures are due to dust and debris trapped in the system.  An annual cleaning and safety inspection of the furnace itself, along with proper washing or changing of your furnace filter can alleviate you from paying through the roof with a breakdown in the middle of the night in January!  Preventative maintenance is the key to an efficiently running system and definitely keeps your money in your pocketbook!

Please note that a furnace filter IS NOT AN AIR CLEANER!  Furnace filters cannot be restrictive enough to stop the tiny particles that can invade our lungs.  They only protect the furnace from particles 1 micron and larger.  The average HEPA air cleaner traps particles 0.3 microns and larger.  If one were to put a HEPA filter media in the furnace filter space, however, the furnace would shut down due to a pressure drop (HEPA media is almost like trying to blow through a piece of paper).   

There are numerous furnace filters on the market and as a homeowner you need to find a happy medium.  A Fibreglass Filter, for instance, can be purchased for as little as $0.75 at any hardware store, but is only about 7% efficient.  This filter needs to stay in your system for a long period of time and get 'really dirty' before it has any benefit to your furnace.  A permanent, washable Electrostatic Furnace Filter needs to be washed every month, as a good one will be about 94% efficient.  Because this filter traps so much dust in the air, infrequent care can lead to a mechanical breakdown if the filter gets too plugged to allow proper airflow through the ventilation system. The same goes for a Pleated Paper Media Filter. These should be removed and replaced every one to three months (every 6 - 12 months if a 4 - 5" Paper Media Filter).   Restriction on airflow also makes it difficult to heat or cool the upstairs, so your furnace has to work overtime, costing much more than necessary in utilities. 

Also to be taken into consideration is your family's lifestyle.  The manufacturer's recommendations do not take this into account.  If your family cooks with a lot of oil, or there is a smoker in the home, you will need more frequent changes / washes as these will make your filter 'sticky', and will get dirtier faster.  If you have pets in your home, you will require more changes because the hair will clog the filter faster as well.  Humidity, number of people in the family, renovations, geographic area, and how often the windows are open also play a role in filtration requirements.

For advice on the best Furnace Filter for your home and lifestyle, call Home Heroes today and one of our experts will point you in the right direction!
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