Avoid Unnecessary Furnace Repairs by Choosing the Right Air Filter


It is important to understand the primary and secondary functions of your home heating and cooling system’s air filter in order to choose the right air filter for your home. Where most people tend to make mistakes is by assuming the air filter’s primary job is to clean the air that is being blown throughout their homes.

However, this assumption is incorrect. Rather it is the secondary function of an air filter. Most people are surprised to learn the primary function of their air filter is to help prevent dirt, dust, pet dander, and other particles from getting into the home heating and cooling system equipment. When the equipment gets dirty, it loses efficiency, and could lead to potential damage of the system.

Filter Maintenance

Air filters need to be changed on a regular basis in order to ensure the proper operation of your heating and cooling system. How often an air filter requires changing depends upon several factors, including:

  • The Type of Air Filter
  • How Much Dust/Dirt Is in the Home
  • How Many Pets are Kept Indoors
  • Whether You Suffer from Allergies or Asthma

For lower quality, cheap air filters, these need to be changed at least once a month. For better quality filters, they should be changed at least once every three months. If using a 5 inch wide filter, like the York Affinity, our furnace maintenance and repair technicians have found these typically last a year.

Selecting an Air Filter

You need to choose an air filter that will stop dirt, dust, pet dander, and other airborne particles from passing through the filter and getting into the heating and cooling system equipment. However, it is equally important to choose an air filter that does not hinder the air flow passing through the equipment.

When air flow is reduced, it places a strain on the heating and cooling system, causing it to work harder and decreasing its efficiency. As a result, restricted air flow can lead to more frequent Calgary furnace repair services, since an overworked system tends to fail more often.

Types of Air Filters

There are several different types of air filters available from a variety of places. The range from cheap, inefficient, and potentially hazardous to highly efficient and well-made. The type of air filter most people use in their homes are one inch wide air filters, which come in different capacities, sizes, and material.

  • Fibreglass Filters On the low, cheap end of air filters are disposable fibreglass filters. Here at Distinct Heating & Cooling we do not recommend using fibreglass filters. First, they are inefficient at stopping airborne particles from entering into the heating and cooling equipment. Next, there is always the risk of small fibreglass particles and spores being blown throughout the home, where you could potentially inhale them.While you do experience an initial cost savings because they are so cheap, in the long run, you actually gain no benefits. Since they fail to keep the equipment cleaned, any small savings you gain are quickly eliminated because you have to get your home heating and cooling system cleaned, repaired, and maintained more often.
  • Washable Filters Our furnace repair experts also do not recommend washable filters for your home. While you might think you are saving money with a higher quality washable filter, they can cause costly repair problems because they restrict the air flowing through the system and home. As previously mentioned, when airflow is restricted it causes the system to work harder and less efficiently.
  • Pleated Air Filters One-inch pleated air filters are the next level of air filters. This type of air filter has different capacities and are rated using the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). The MERV rating ranges from 1 to 16, but on larger air purification systems can be as high as 20. Using the MERV rating is simple: The higher the number, the better the filtration.Although, one concern with higher MERV rated filters is the potential of hindering air flow through the system and home. An effective and efficient MERV rating for most heating and cooling systems is between 10 and 13.
  • Premium Air Filters In order to prevent equipment from getting dirty as fast, while also ensuring the indoor air quality is improved, premium filters are the best choice. Premium filters are typically 5 inches wide, which means they are much more efficient at removing dust, dirt, pet dander, and other airborne particles, without restricting the air flow through the system and home. So you get the best of both primary and secondary air filter functions.

Here at Distinct Heating & Cooling, we recommend the York Affinity air filter with a 13 MERV rating. This premium 5 inch filter is able to be retrofitted to any existing system, including older ones. To learn more about the York Affinity air filter or for assistance in choosing the best air filter for your home heating and cooling system, call the experts at Distinct Heating & Cooling today at 403-477-3810. We do not want to see you end up with costly furnace repair bills because you used a cheap, low quality air filter.