Everyone should be thinking about their furnace filter. This may seem like an odd point to make, but your furnace doesn’t magically run at optimum performance without you doing anything. In order to keep it working at its best and avoiding any major malfunctions, you need to be thinking about the filter. So why? Well, furnace filters clean the air circulating around your home, making sure your family stay in good health. Not only do they protect your furnace by removing particles from the air, filters also remove the particles that can affect your lungs. These include pollen, dirt, dust, allergens and bacteria that pollute the air in your home. A filter is essential to improving the air quality for you, your family and friends.
So we know furnace filters are a good thing, but how do we know which to choose? A quick google search will find numerous different designs, various rating systems, and pros/cons for each kind. Selecting exactly the right filter for your system is crucial to maintaining and sustaining a healthy and clean environment in your home. There are lots of variables to consider when choosing your filter; size, efficiency, pleated vs. non-pleated, and filter thickness. It is thickness that we are going to look at in more detail here.
Furnace filter thickness can range from 1” to 5”. The system you have will determine to some extent the thickness of filter that you can use, but you do have options. So what are the differences between a 1” and 5” filter?
A 1” filter is probably one of the most commonly used filters, and that is primarily because they are the cheapest. Price is one of the key benefits of a 1” filter will set you back about $20. The key downside with a 1” filter is that ultimately it does not filter as well. It traps particles less efficiently, and lets through smaller particles - things like smoke, smog and viruses are some of the smaller particles. That’s not to say it doesn’t filter, it absolutely will remove large, heavy particles from the air in your house - things like lint, pollen, mold spores and dust, but ultimately it isn’t as efficient as a thicker filter. Another issue is that although a 1” filter is cheaper, you will have to replace it reasonably frequently, about monthly.
Let’s look at 5” filters. In contrast to a 1” filter they are more expensive - setting you back about $40+, but you do get more for your money. Firstly, you aren’t going to need to change it really frequently. A 5” filter should be changed annually at a minimum. Secondly, you can be confident a 5” filter traps particles, including the smaller smoke, smog and virus particles, efficiently. A 5” will do this without compromising or presenting more resistance to the flow of air, that a 1” filter may do. Ultimately it catches more dirt without restricting air flow in your furnace system. Overall, if you invest in a thicker furnace filter, it will perform better, last longer and be much more efficient than its cheaper 1” counterpart.