Furnace filters are essential for maintaining Indoor Air Quality in your home. They trap all contaminants, including debris, smoke, allergens, dust, and even odor. They also keep the blower of your HVAC system clean and safe.
Proper use of filters can save you a lot of money you would otherwise have to spend on carrying out complex repairs to your HVAC system.
This review covers some of the best filters that you can use if you have pets in your home. We also discuss important issues about furnace filters to help you choose the right ones for your home.
Are Cheap Furnace Filters as Good as Expensive Ones?
Cheap furnace filters are not as good as expensive ones. The differences between cheap and expensive furnace filters are evident in terms of performance and longevity. Cheap furnace filters are likely to have very low MERV ratings.
MERV ratings are important indicators of the level of performance of furnace filters. Devices that have high MERV ratings are more effective in trapping contaminants than those with low ratings. Therefore, the higher the MERV rating, the better the device.
Cheap furnace filters are likely to have very low MERV ratings. Such devices are unable to effectively capture all the contaminants that may be found in your home.
Therefore, they offer very little protection to your HVAC system. If you use them, you may end up with a damaged HVAC system sooner than later. This will translate into additional costs of repairing the system.
Furthermore, cheap furnace filters will have to be replaced often. The period that a furnace filter is still useful is directly proportional to its quality. High-quality and expensive furnace filters will last for a longer time than their cheap counterparts.
It would be an excellent idea to purchase and install a furnace filter that serves you for an extended period. You will not have to think about replacing it just after a few weeks when it is possible to have one that can remain useful for a longer time.
Types of furnace filters
Furnace filters can be divided into different types based on the materials that are used to make them. The type of material that is used to make furnace filters determines their performance. Here are the main two types of furnace filters that you will find on the market.
Fiberglass furnace filters
Fiberglass furnace filters are also called non-pleated furnace filters. It is easy to recognize them because of their transparent surfaces and blue color. They are called non-pleated furnace filters because the strands on their surfaces are not interwoven.
Fiberglass furnace filters have relatively low MERV ratings. You will hardly find a fiberglass furnace filter with a MERV rating of 12 or above. Moreover, fiberglass furnace filters are readily available on the market.
Fiberglass furnace filters can still help keep the air in your home clean and protect your HVAC system. They capture contaminants that are of large sizes but fail to trap smaller ones. Thus, they may capture dust particles and other similar-sized contaminants.
Pleated furnace filters
Pleated furnace filters have thick surfaces that are made up of interwoven strands. The strands’ interweaving makes this kind of furnace filter very effective in trapping even minute particles, including allergens and odors.
Thus, pleated furnace filters have high MERV ratings of over 12. They are quite useful in capturing even up to 99% of contaminants.
Determining the Size of a Furnace Filter
You can determine the size of your funnel filter by measuring the length, height, and width. In the case of furnace filters, the length is the same as the height. The width indicates the thickness of your furnace filter.
As a rule of thumb, the thicker the furnace filter, the longer it lasts. The most common width sizes of furnace filters are 1, 4, and even 5 inches.
The best way of determining the right size of your furnace filter is to look at the old one. When replacing your furnace filter, use the old device to determine the correct size of what you need to purchase. This will vary with the size of your HVAC system.
Some users argue that one can easily cut a large filter to size. Whereas this is possible, it is not advisable. It is wiser to obtain a furnace heater that fits into your HVAC system correctly than having to cut a large furnace filter to fit into space.
What are HEPA Furnace Filters?
The acronym HEPA means High-Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA furnace filter has special configurations that make it quite different from conventional MERV furnace filters.
Typically, a HEPA furnace filter comprises a thick web of carefully interwoven strands. The strands are interwoven in a specific configuration to create a thick web of fibers.
A HEPA furnace filter is outstandingly effective in trapping particulates that are as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. All the contaminants are easily trapped at the first instance when they get in touch with the surface of the furnace filter.
Those contaminants that escape capture at the first time when they get into contact with the surface of the furnace filter still get trapped through the mesh of fibers. Thus, a HEPA furnace filter will trap up to 99.9% of all contaminants in the area in which it is used.
Such furnace filters are used under exceptional circumstances where all contaminants must be eliminated. Hospitals and laboratories typically use HEPA filters to maintain a germ-free environment.
Sadly, HEPA furnace filters are not designed for ordinary HVAC systems in homes. The thick nature of these furnace filters forces HVAC systems’ blowers to overwork to keep the air moving around. This means that your domestic HVAC system will strain and consume excess energy if you install a HEPA furnace filter.
Furnace Filter vs. Air Filter
There is not much difference in the fundamental purpose of using either an air filter or a funnel filter. Both devices remove contaminants from the air indoors. They, therefore, are useful in maintaining a high level of indoor air quality. However, there is a slight difference in the way the two devices function.
Air filters are used with air conditioners. They draw the dirty air from the room, collect all contaminants before passing to the air conditioner. The air conditioner then redistributes the air around the room.
Funnel filters are installed in the HVAC system. They trap all the contaminants that may be found in the air in your house. The clean air is then passed to the HVAC system, heated, and distributed by the blower through the ductwork.
In the absence of a furnace filter, all the contaminants will find their way into the HVAC system and, eventually, into the air around the house.
What are the Benefits of Using Funnel Filters for Pets?
If you own a pet, consider using a high-quality furnace filter. Here are some of the benefits of using a furnace filter in your home if you keep pets.
Prevent allergic reactions
Some people are allergic to small fur particles. Your pets shed a considerable amount of fur. The small fur particles keep floating around the air in the room unless they are removed.
The only practical way of removing them is by using a furnace filter. Having a good furnace filter will ensure that all the small fur particles are trapped in your device’s meshwork. Thus, people who are allergic to pets will have an easy time around the house.
Improve your Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Quality is a result of the percentage of contaminants that are found indoors. The tiny fur particles that pets produce undermine the quality of the air in your home. Having a good furnace filter will ensure that all the fur particles are removed from your home.
How Often Should you Change your Furnace Filter if you have Pets?
You should change your furnace filter are often as the manufacturer recommends. Makers of furnace filters always indicate how long their devices should last.
While you may think that manufacturers use this information to drive up the sales of their products, it is worth considering its validity.
Your furnace air filter cannot last forever. When it is full of particulates, it loses its ability to collect other contaminants. This means that a considerable number of contaminants will suddenly become available in the HVAC system as well as the air in your home.
This may cause headaches and many other problems. In the case of a home with pets, you may suddenly start to experience allergic reactions.
This is because the allergens from your pets would be lingering in the indoor air. You can avoid this unpleasant scenario by adhering to the recommendations of the manufacturer of your furnace filter.
What is the Importance of the MERV Rating?
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating helps you determine the right furnace filter to install in your HVAC system. Under this rating, the performance of furnace filters ranges from 1 to 16.
The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the furnace filter is in trapping particulates. However, you can determine the effectiveness of a furnace filter using four categories of MERV ratings.
Furnace filters with a MERV rating of between 1 to 4 can remove only 20% of contaminants. The contaminants should be between 0.3 and 1 microns in diameter. They can remove large particles like dust and smoke.
Furnace filters with a MERV rating of between 5 and 8 can remove up to 85% of contaminants with a diameter of between 0.3 and 10 microns. They can satisfactorily remove spores and other particulates.
Furnace filters that have a MERV rating of 9 to 12 are quite effective in removing many pollutants. They can also effectively filter bacteria and other microorganisms from the air in your home.
The best furnace filters are those that have a MERV rating of between 13 to 16. They can remove up to 95% of very tiny particles from the air in your house.
How to Install a Furnace Filter
Installing your furnace filter should not be an arduous task. Here are the steps that you can follow to complete the process.
- Open the panel that covers the furnace filter to remove the old one. If it is difficult to slide it open by freehand, use a screwdriver or any other suitable tool.
- Align the new filter with the direction of flow of air in your HVAC system. Ensure that the arrows on the filter match the direction of the flow of air in your system.
- Close the filter area be returning the panel.
Best Furnace Filters For Homes With Pets
1. Filtrete 20x20x1, AC Furnace Air Filter
The Filtrete 20x20x1 AC Furnace Air Filter is specially designed for homes with pets. It has some of the most notable features that you would love to find in a furnace filter that can keep your home free from allergens and other contaminants.
First, this air filter has a high MERV rating of 11. Air filters with a MERV rating of about 11 are sufficient to capture large amounts of contaminants from the air. Therefore, you will enjoy a high air quality in your home when this filter is installed correctly in your furnace.
The thick surface of this air filter is made up of an active carbon layer and the interwoven strands. The active carbon layer ensures that the filter captures the most minute particles, including odors and allergens. People who are allergic to small hair particles from pets will be entirely safe when this air filter is working.
- Effective in capturing small particles because it is pleated and has an active carbon layer
- High MPR and MERV ratings mean that the air filter captures large amounts of contaminants
- Ideal for allergen defense in the home
- There are two pieces of air filters in the pack only
2. Arm & Hammer AF-AH21625 Furnace Filter
The Arm & Hammer AF-AH21625 air filter is ideal for reducing allergens and odors in your home. It has built-in carbon granules.
The granules are quite efficient in attracting and trapping small particles that cause odors in the home. The odors may also be from pets that may be found in the home. Thus, the furnace filter is exceptional in helping to keep the quality of your home high.
Allergens can cause severe reactions in sensitive people. Animals produce allergens in the form of small hair particles. This air filter is designed to attract and capture such particles. It has a layer of interwoven strands that successfully capture such allergens.
However, like all right products, the Arm & Hammer AF-AH21625 furnace filter is not without fault. There are only four pieces in the pack. This number is relatively small, considering that some brands of furnace filters have up to six pieces in a pack.
- Useful for reducing odors because it has sizeable built-in carbon granules
- It has interwoven strands for capturing small allergens
- It lasts for three months before requiring it to be replaced.
- There are four pieces only in the pack
3. Filtrete 20x30x1, AC Furnace Air Filter
The Filtrete 20x30x1 AC Furnace Air Filter features an exclusive 3-in-1 technology that enhances this furnace filter’s overall performance. You will enjoy a high-quality indoor environment free of all forms of contaminants when this furnace filter is working.
The furnace filter will also sufficiently protect your HVAC system from damage that occurs if contaminants, including dust particles, find their way into the ductwork.
You will probably enjoy the performance of a furnace filter that has the highest MERV rating possible. The Filtrete 20x30x1 AC Furnace Air Filter has a MERV rating of 14, which is very high. It means that the furnace filter attracts and traps up to 95% of all the contaminants that may be found in the air in your house.
The only notable drawback of using this furnace filter is that you will have to bear the cost of replacing it quite frequently. There are only two pieces, and the high MERV rating means that they lose their usefulness fast.
- It attracts and captures microscopic particles, including allergens and odors
- It features the 3-in-1 technology for enhanced performance
- High MERV rating of 14
- You will have to replace your filters frequently
4. FilterBuy Allergen Odor Eliminator 12x24x1
The FilterBuy Allergen Odor Eliminator 12x24x1 has several attractive features that you would expect to find in a modern and effective furnace filter.
This furnace filter has interwoven strands. Unless furnace filters are made of pure fiberglass, those with pleated surfaces attract and capture more contaminants. Thus, you will enjoy a high-quality indoor environment when this furnace filter is installed in your HVAC system.
Second, this furnace filter has an activated carbon layer. The use of large carbon granules on furnace filters helps the devices to trap microparticles.
Some of the most stubborn microparticles that cause odors and allergic reactions at home come from pets. Thus, installing this furnace filter will protect everyone at home from the odors and allergic reactions triggered by such small particles.
Sadly, this furnace filter has a relatively low MERV rating of 8. Many other brands of furnace filters of similar size have a high MERV rating of even 14. The higher the MERV rating of a furnace filter, the better its performance.
- It has an interwoven layer of strands
- The furnace filter has an activated carbon layer
- The furnace filter is a perfect fit for easy installation
- It has a relatively low MERV rating of 8
5. Flanders PrecisionAire 10155.01202 E-Z Flow Air Filter
If you are looking for a furnace filter that is easy to install and effectively captures a broad range of particles, including pollen, smoke, dust, and odor, consider using the Flanders PrecisionAire.
This furnace filter is unique because it has a media that is made of baking soda. Baking soda is very successful in trapping the small particles that cause odors. Your home will smell fresh all the time, even if you keep pets when you have this furnace filter in place.
The pleated surface of this furnace filter is very successful in trapping many particles. The interwoven fibers can capture small particles that measure even 0.3 micros in diameter.
Moreover, it is not thick enough to hinder the flow of air in your HVAC system. Exceptionally thick furnace filters can cause damages to your system because the blower will have to strain to move the air.
- The baking soda media that is used in the fiberglass quickly absorbs and eliminates odors.
- A pleated surface enhances the trapping of contaminants without hindering airflow.
- The furnace filters are of the perfect size for your HVAC system.
- The relatively low MERV rating of 8
6. AIRx Filters Allergy 16x25x1 Air Filter
One of the most attractive things about this air filter is that it comes with a full replacement pack of six other pieces. You will get value for your money because the furnace filters last for about three months before you have to replace them.
Apart from the number of pieces found in the replacement box, this furnace filter has all the essential features that you would expect to find in a standard device of this kind. Notably, it has a pleated surface that ensures a significant percentage of particles are attracted and trapped.
Although it is not advisable to have a very thick furnace filter, it is neither a good idea to have a very thin one. Like the AIRx Filters Allergy 16x25x1 Air Filter, thin furnace filters may not adequately trap all the small allergens that are usually found in homes with pets.
- There are six pieces in the replacement box
- Effective in defending against allergens and odors
- Easy to install because one does not have to cut it down to the right size
- It is relatively thin and may fail to trap all the small allergens in the air effectively.
7. Lhari 16x20x1 Air Filter
The Lhari 16x20x1 Air Filter has a large surface area because of the interwoven fibers. This large surface area is exceptionally successful in capturing large amounts of particles within a short time. Therefore, this air filter will offer excellent protection against allergens and other particles in your home.
The Lhari 16x20x1 Air Filter is made of heat-resistant PET materials. You will enjoy excellent service when you install this furnace filter in your HVAC system.
However, you will have to replace your furnace filter because it has a high MERV rating. The only good news is that there are six pieces in the replacement pack.
- Pleated fibers for enhanced performance
- The filters have a greater surface area for capturing a lot of particles within a short time.
- Highly durable because it is made of PET material that is heat resistant
- They must be changed frequently because of the high MERV rating of 12
Furnace filters are a necessity if you keep pets at home. They will help maintain the Indoor Air Quality by trapping and removing all contaminants in the air, including small hair particles from your pets. Such particles can trigger massive allergic reactions in people.
Furnace filters are relatively easy to install and maintain. However, remember to replace them according to the recommendations of the manufacturer.