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Furnace Filters – More Unsexy House Stuff

Is it time to change the filter Bloggers? Check out the information I pulled of the CMHC website about your furnace filter. This is the sort of stuff none of us wants to deal with, but can be uber important for your home and your health. Especially with all he recent H1N1 and pandemic fears… a clean furnace filter can go a long way to a healthy home! (www.cmhc-schl.ca)

Your Furnace Filter

What a Furnace Filter Can do for You

Traditionally, furnace filters were designed to protect the furnace and fans. With increased air quality awareness, some filters are now being installed to reduce exposure to particles which can affect your health.

There is a wide variety of furnace filters available. However, you may find it confusing to select one which is suitable. This purpose of this document is to provide you with guidance when selecting your furnace filter.

What Airborne Particles are Found in Your Home?

The particles you breathe in your home come from a variety of sources including:

  • dust on floors or other surfaces that is disturbed by activity in the house
  • dust generated by smoking, burning candles, cooking, doing laundry, etc.
  • hair and skin flakes from humans or pets
  • particles from the outside air which come into your home with infiltrating air

Some particles are so small that they are inhaled and then exhaled without being trapped in your lungs. Some larger particles are trapped in your nose and throat and never reach your lungs. Still other particles are too large to be inhaled.The particles most dangerous to you are those that enter your lungs and lodge there.

You can see the particles of dust which accumulate on your television screen, shelves, and furniture. But you can’t see the respirable particles. Respirable particles can be easily inhaled into your lungs and provoke respiratory illness. Although you would probably like to keep visible dust out of your home, the main health risk comes from respirable particles, which include tobacco smoke, spores, bacteria, and viruses.

The activity levels of the people in your home can affect the air you breathe. Activity such as vacuuming and cooking can create or stir up particles. On the other hand, during periods of inactivity such as the middle of the night, particle concentrations tend to be much lower.

The Cost of Clean Air

For a furnace fan filter to be effective, your furnace fan would have to run almost all the time. Unless you already have your furnace fan operating all the time, this additional fan use can add $200 or more per year to your electric bill, unless you have a high efficiency furnace fan motor.

So… How do You Reduce Levels of Respirable Particles?

Our best current guess is to reduce dust entry by:

  • removing footwear on entry;
  • keeping major dust generators (smoking, pets, etc.) out of the house;
  • reducing dust collecting surfaces (open shelves, carpets, upholstered furniture, etc.);
  • diligent and frequent vacuuming with an efficient vacuum cleaner;
  • reducing the entry of particle-laden outdoor air by closing windows, improving house airtightness, and installing an intake filter on the air supply;
  • using a good furnace filter.

Most of these recommendations will also reduce the amount of visible dust in your house.

Comments

  1. Tialk ahuja says:

    Wao great information We change our filter every 4-6 months but try to clean in between. I think it does make a difference though. I think it’s more important in the summer time. If you have central heat and air, it’s also important to keep the grass cut away from your outside unit. They typically pull air in at the bottom, so they will use more energy if there is debris in the way. http://www.airsponge.com

  2. Tialk ahuja says:

    Wao great information We change our filter every 4-6 months but try to clean in between. I think it does make a difference though. I think it’s more important in the summer time. If you have central heat and air, it’s also important to keep the grass cut away from your outside unit. They typically pull air in at the bottom, so they will use more energy if there is debris in the way. http://www.airsponge.com

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