When to Clean Your Furnace Filter & How to Get it Done

a clean furnace filter inserted into furnace

When it comes to keeping your home’s air clean and fresh, a little effort goes a long way. Of course, there’s no better way to boost your air quality than with a full furnace and duct cleaning from the Clean Air Solutions team, but even a simple furnace filter change can make an impact between those big cleaning dates.


Which Type of Furnace Filter Should You Use?

Changing the filter in your furnace is quite simple. The hardest part is deciding which type to buy, as there are many options with different costs and results to explore.

Before we dive in, it’s important to understand MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and the scale runs from 1-16 to tell you how effective a filter is at trapping dust, allergens, dirt, and other particles that could be floating around in your ducts. Although it might be easy to assume a higher MERV rating is the best option, it’s important to remember that the higher rated a filter is, the harder your furnace has to work to push through its dense material.


Let’s take a look at a few of your options:


Disposable Fibreglass Furnace Filters

This is the most common type of filter you can find, and you can usually pick up a three-pack for less than $20. These fibreglass filters are great for removing dust particles from the air, but they may not be as effective for tiny particles like mold, pollen, and bacteria because they have a low MERV rating (typically between 1 and 4).


Disposable Pleated Filters

Pleated filters tend to be more effective for removing tiny particles, and they’re only a slightly larger investment. For people with allergies, pleated filters can be very beneficial because they are rated to remove smaller particles like pollen and fine dust.


Washable Electrostatic Filters

Washable filters are a one-time purchase, but as the name suggests, you need to wash these instead of replacing them. They generate a positive charge that attracts dust particles, and they’re typically quite easy to wash (just hose them down). They’ll cost you more upfront, but of course, you won’t have to spend additional money to replace them. These don’t have MERV ratings, but the package will typically tell you what they’re capable of.


HEPA Filters (High-Efficiency Particulate Air)

These filters are typically used in hospitals because they’re the best at removing particulates and allergens from the air. However, they tend to create issues in residential HVAC systems because the dense material restricts airflow. Your system may become less efficient at heating or cooling your air.



So, which filter is right for your home? It’s usually a simple cost-benefit analysis for homeowners. If someone in your home has allergies or is immunocompromised, a filter with a higher MERV rating might be worth the extra money and less efficient system. In most cases, even cheap filters work well enough to remove basic dust and allergens from the air. What’s most important is that you’re replacing these filters consistently.



When Should I Change My Furnace Filter?

You should change your furnace filter once every three months. However, if someone in your home has allergies, asthma, or other health concerns, you may want to change it more frequently. The same goes for homes with children or elderly people who are more sensitive to air quality. You should also consider changing your filter more often if you have pets in the home.

If you have health concerns, children, elderly people, or pets in your home, you may also want to consider having more regular furnace and duct cleanings to purify your home’s air fully.


Set a Reminder & Have Filters on Hand

Changing your furnace filter is actually the easy part. Remembering to do it? Not so much!

An easy fix to make sure it gets swapped out every three months is to work it into your calendar. Whether you have a paper calendar or a phone calendar, you can set up automatic reminders by going through and marking off a date every three months. Try to plan it for a Saturday so you can work it into weekend errands instead of fitting it in during a hectic week. The good news is that it should only take a few minutes at most.

Another great tip to make sure you stay on schedule is to have a good supply of filters on hand. You can usually buy three-packs of filters, or you can even sign up for a subscription service that offers regular filter deliveries. Plus, delivery is great because you’ll know whenever it arrives that it’s time for a change!


What to Do When Your Furnace Filters Get Dirty Too Quickly

If you find your filters are filling up before the three-month mark, it’s a good sign you have a build-up of dust and allergens in your ducts, vents, and furnace. That means it’s time for a thorough clean, so be sure to call a trusted furnace and duct cleaning company in Edmonton. Clean Air Solutions has been helping homeowners enjoy clean air for over 30 years, and we’d be happy to help you decide if it’s time for a cleaning.