Most of you already know that to improve the energy efficiency as well as air quality in your home this winter, you should change out your heater or furnace filter. With windows and doors closed and sealed against the cold, the air quality of your home can suffer. If you use disposable fiberglass filters like I do, you may want to swap them out every three months. You should get to know a reputable HVAC contractor in your area if you want to know what's best for your own energy efficiency.
I've been reading a lot lately about electronic air filters, which are said to trap 88 percent of particles as compared to the 10 to 40 percent snared by fiberglass filters. According to the Daily Green, you can spend between $50 and $1,000 for the permanent electronic--or electrostatic--filters, depending on the model. Of course I'm interested in them because I suffer from innumerable allergies to molds and pollens. Electrostatic filters are said to even trap viruses, which is a great advantage during these months of nasty weather when family members come home carrying all kinds of bugs with them.
How can permanent filters affect energy efficiency? Clogged or filthy disposable filters make your HVAC system work harder to provide the temperature you desire. That's how.
Looking Over Electronic Filters
I searched retailer Nextag to compare prices and features of electronic air filters. The EnviroSept electronic furnace filter was near the top end of the price scale at $363. The manufacturer claims the filter will trap 99 percent of dust particles and 70 percent of smaller allergen particles. The filters are made to fit 35 standard HVAC vents in American homes.
One the other end of the price scale, the Electra 9400 sells for $79.99, but I found one retailer offering it for $39.99. These are permanent, washable filters that are said to provide ten times more filtration than disposable fiberglass filters.
Electronic Filters and HEPA Filters
According to Gary McEldoney of the Allergy Buyers Club, permanent filters "cut dusting by as much as 50 percent and cut your energy bill by almost 15 percent." Electrostatic furnace filters can greatly assist in cutting down pollutants. But McEldoney said the more allergic among us also need a solid HEPA room filter in the home to trap dust mites or cat allergens.