terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

The importance of furnace maintenance January 5, 2008

Filed under: cleaning, local, reduce — terra @ 11:52 am

Our house was 53 degrees this morning! We keep it at 61 and use our fireplace to warm up when we’re home, so 53 was pretty frigid, even for us. The furnace went out some time last night. I don’t think it’s related to the furnace filter not being replaced for a while, but it just reminded us that we have not been keeping up on that simple task. (actually, we just bought one, but it was the wrong size, so our intentions were good)

Replacing your furnace filter makes your furnace more efficient, saving energy and money on heating bills. We’re off for a new filter today, and the furnace guy will be coming soon. Fortunately, I recently read that there are permanent furnace filters available. These electrostatic filters simply need to be washed monthly, but they save the hassle of spending $15 on a new filter every month, as recommended. Permanent filters will pay for themselves in less than 4 months, saving you money and reducing the need to produce so many filters. (This place has electrostatic permanent filters starting at $25)

Throwaway filters only remove about 10 percent to 40 percent of pollutants from the air, while electrostatic models—which also happen to be permanent and easy to wash—siphon off about 88 percent of the nastiness, including bacteria, mold, viruses, and pollen.

Home maintenance saves energy by keeping appliances more efficient, which saves money and keeps our homes warmer. Have you changed your filter lately?


7 Responses to “The importance of furnace maintenance”

  1. Our furnace crashed three years ago just before Christmas. That was not a pleasant Christmas for our pocketbook. Ever since then we’ve been very good with changing our filters every month and doing all the nifty things the new furnace manual suggests we should do. I knew nothing about permanent filters. I especially like the fact that it captures so much more than the throw away ones. We’re an allergy prone family with a pet, so this is very important to us. Very good post – thanks!

  2. Thanks for the reminder — will clean out my permanent furnace filter tomorrow!

  3. terra Says:

    Turns out it was the motor. I’m glad it wasn’t something more.

    I ordered my $25 permanent furnace filter. I like not having to spend so much money all the time. It’s easier for me to “forget” to do things that cost more money. This will be so much easier and more efficient.

  4. [...] The importance of furnace maintenance « terra, not terror [...]

  5. MattB Says:

    I had no idea there were such things! I am very interested in a “permanent” filter, but i wonder if anyone has run across independent studies showing the effectiveness of each type of filter (ie. consumer reports)? If they are just as effective (or more so) why aren’t they more popular?

  6. terra Says:

    Good point, Matt. From what I could find on Consumer Reports.org (without an account), the electrostatic filters can emit some ozone, which isn’t good. It also said that people don’t need to buy those high-end filters that promise extra filtration for allergies, etc. (now I know!) Regular filters should do the same quality of filtration.

  7. MattB Says:

    T, you are probably correct, these washable filters probably do just as well as the disposable ones. It would be nice not to have to buy new furnace filters all the time, just wash it!

    I think the consumer reports was writing of a different kind of active electrostatic filter (basically a bug zapper in your air duct–saw ‘em on an episode of “ask this old house”) and those are rather expensive to install and perhaps operate–and as you said, emit ozone–not good.

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