Why Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

Jan 23, 2018 | Heating

family inside their seattle home

Furnace filters. They’re one of those items not really on the top of everyone’s minds, but they are important and can have a big impact. With the right furnace filter, you can save money and improve your indoor air quality (IAQ) in one fell swoop.

The primary function of your furnace filter is simply to remove particles from the air moving through your ductwork. This particle clearance protects your furnace’s blower fan and air conditioner, as well as you (by preventing the recirculation of the contaminants into the air you breathe). The particles collect on the filter, which is why it’s so important to regularly change or clean it. If your filter is full, this dominoes into a host of problems––your furnace can no longer work at full capacity, damage to your furnace, decreased IAQ. Obviously, each of these issues has its own ramifications as well.

Types of Filters

When standing in the furnace filter aisle at your local Washington hardware store, it can be overwhelming. But breaking it down to basics, there are typically five different types of filters––disposable fiberglass, disposable pleated, disposable electrostatic, permanent electrostatic, and high-efficiency pleated. When deciding which filter to purchase, consider its overall cost, its purpose for contingent factors (pet? allergies?), its MERV rating (minimum efficiency reporting value), its size, and your furnace’s manufacturer’s recommendations. Each filter type performs differently and has different costs involved (both short term and long term). Call Ballard Natural Gas to discuss which of these would work best with your HVAC system.

How Often to Replace?

There is no one answer to this question due to all the factors involved. When using cheaper disposable filters, they’re going to need replacing much more often, depending on if there are pets or a smoker in your home. Obviously the disposable filters need replacing throughout the year (three to four times), whereas the permanent ones just need cleaning throughout the year and, depending on type, can last from one to eight years. A good rule of thumb though is to check your filter monthly. If it’s looking clogged and dirty, replace or clean it. It’ll save your HVAC system, your bank account, and your lungs in the long run. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing a dirty filter can lower your air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 10 ten percent annually.

Recycling Filters

Everyone knows recycling makes your global footprint smaller. That said, unfortunately you can’t put your used disposable filter in your recycle bin. Depending, your filter can be make from a combination of plastic, fiberglass, and wire mesh, although some are straight up one material. Furnace filters just aren’t candidates for your general recycling. Now home air filters can be recycled by specific companies, but this is usually a mailer-type situation. If you’re concerned about your global footprint, investigate using permanent filters instead of disposable ones.

At Ballard Natural Gas, we recognize how important the care of your HVAC system and furnace filter is. Call us today at 206-784-8101 with any questions or concerns you may have about your furnace’s filter.

If you are in Seattle or the greater Seattle area request service online and if you are not sure if you are in our service area, check out our service area page for more information on the communities we serve.


Ballard Natural Gas Service is proud to offer services to Seattle, Shoreline, West Seattle, Capitol Hill, Lake Forest Park, Richmond Beach, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and the surrounding communities. Call us at 206-784-8101 or request service online today!

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