Furnace filter 101

Changing your furnace filter is the easiest way for you to take good care of your investment. Find out what to look for the next time you head to the store to buy a furnace filter.

Air cleaners

If someone in your family suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, you know the importance of clean indoor air.

A high-efficiency air cleaner can make a big improvement by removing up airborne pollutants like dust, pet dander, pollen, tobacco smoke and mold spores.

How it works

A filter-type air cleaner, attached to your heating system, uses a high-density material that's folded accordion-style to maximize surface area.

An electronic air cleaner uses electrodes to create an ionized electrical field that "magnetizes" pollutant particles and collects them on the filter material.

The benefits

An ordinary furnace filter blocks less than 15 percent of the indoor pollutants in your home. In comparison, a high-efficiency air filter can eliminate virtually all pollen and mold spores, and up to 94 percent of smaller particles. An electronic air cleaner can even reduce airborne viruses by 80 percent!

Unlike portable units, permanent air cleaners protect your entire house - not just individual rooms. Whole-house models are also quieter and require only minimal annual maintenance.

The cost

A typical "filter media" air cleaner will cost about $350-450 to have installed. Costs for electronic air cleaners range from $650 to $850.

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