Updated: November 2017

Furnace Filter Reviews:

Your home furnace should not only be energy efficient but you also want it to filter out as much of the air contaminents as possible as the air circulates throughout your house. The standard, disposable furnace filters found in many houses are ok in terms of filtering out allergens, dust, and pollens but the newer permanent electrostatic filters are much better. A step further are the electronic furnace filters that have particle efficiency of up to 99% at 1 micron and 70% at less than 1 micron. The electronic filters plug into a 110 volt outlet in your wall and you replace the pads every few months.

The electronic furnace filters are the costliest of the bunch with prices topping $350 while the washable, non-electric, electrostatic filters are much more reasonable at $75-$180. We found that allergy product sites tend to mark up prices on air filters and furnace filters more than almost any other sites. It seems that they are preying upon those of us with allergies to pollens and household dust. If you shop around you should be able to find a decent price on furnace filters that help alleviate allergy symptoms. My wife is terribly allergic to dust, which is prevalent in most households, so we own an electostatic filter that we clean every few months and we also get our air ducts cleaned once a year to keep things as irritant free as possible.

Buying Guide - If you are going to get your air ducts cleaned, expect to spend about $250 to $500 depending on how many ducts you have around your house. When the duct cleaning guys are there, they will replace your filter and show you how if you want. Keep in mind if they supply the furnace filter it will be marked up about 25% - so you are better off buying your own filter if you know what you want. There are different sizes like 10 x 10, 16 x 20, 20 x 20, 20 x 25, etc. Many of the cheaper replacement filters are only about $15 to $20 and you can buy them in a 6 or 12 pack so you always have them around to change. They come as pleated, electrostatic or panel types and the materials are polyester or fiberglass. Some of the top brands are Honeywell, American Air Filter, 3M Filtrete, Airguard, Trion, and Carrier. The reason why I bought the electrostatic filter is because for $90 I can clean it every few months and it will outlast the cheaper models. The lifetime warranty on the electrostatic furnace filter (from Natlallergy.com) is another reason to buy it. Just wash and reuse it - I've had mine now for 2 years and it seems to be the job just fine. I do clean the filter by running it through warm water every 3 or 4 months and it does get dirty, but a few rinses later and it's good as new. The 3-stage filtration reduces our indoor pollutants by 91% and hopefully cuts down on household dust. We have hardwood floors in our house to help keep dust a minimum (better than carpets), we still find dust but just not as much as before. If you have pets then these filters are even better for filtering out animal hair and dander. Another option is to get vent filters which stop even more contaminents once they get through your initial furnace filter. You can get paranoid about indoor dust and pollen, but you can do your best to stop the vast majority of it from circulating throughout your home. Getting rid of carpets is a big step in reducing dust and not having pets should help with animal hair and other pollutants. The pricey electronic furnace filter systems are not necessary for most of us and so we say start with the electrostatic ones first to see if you get any relief from dust and pollens. I think the biggest thing is to remember to clean or replace filters in your house. Many people just forget and overtime they will lose their efficiency if they become dirty or clogged with debris. Furnacefilters.com and Furnacefilterwarehouse.com are two excellent websites to find filter replacements online or at least learn about sizing options and brands. You can find furnace filters in home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes or Sears. RECOMMENDED - You can browse the best selling furnace filters online here.

Electronic Furnace Filter:

Furnacefilterwarehouse.com carries a good variety of electronic filters that cost $200. They are manufactured by Cimatec and their Aircleen 1500 gives you higher efficiency, lower pressure drop, superior electronics, and Electro-fibre media. You can also find the Envirosept Electronic Furnace Filters on the Allergybuyersclubshopping.com website but they are expensive at over $350. They remove up to 99% of all particles as small as 1 micron. You get 70% filter efficiency and lower energy bills. You will need to replace the collector pads in the filter. The electronic filters are not what the average homeowner needs, so don't splurge on these unless absolutely necessary.

Furnace Filter for Allergy Sufferers - Electrostatic:

Anyone who suffers from allergies knows that your home can often be a retreat from outdoor pollens and pollutants. The problem with homes that they are notorious for being "dusty" and if you have pets (dogs or cats) then animal air is another issue once it gets airborne. Some of the better furnace filters are the electrostatic ones that do an excellent job of protecting you from indoor pollutants. The Permatron DustEater Electrostatic Furnace Filter ($60) is a good product that requires no electrical hookup and installs as easy as any other filter. These filters are permanent and the Permatron has a lifetime warranty. When you want to clean it, just remove it from the furnace and rinse it in running water every 2 months or so. Many allergy websites note that even the best furnace filters aren't going to help with dust mites or cat allergies, but they can keep the air quality in your home at livable levels. I buy the BoAir filters and they last pretty well. Check out top selling electrostatic filters here.

How to Change/Replace a Furnace Filter:

Buying a new filter for your furnace and replacing the old one is something that all homeowners can do regardless of skill level. When it comes to DIY projects around the house, changing the furnace filter is one of the easiest. All you have to do is slide out the old one and insert the new one. Keep a reminder slip somewhere around your house to check on the filters every few months and replace if necessary. The most important thing to remember is to have the main furnace turned off. Mine is setup so that when the opening for the filter is removed the furnace will shut off so I can safely remove the furnace filter and wash mine if necessary. There are up flow, down flow, and horizontal furnaces, but once you figure out where the filter is stored, it's pretty easy to switch out the old and slide in the new one. When I had the service technician clean our ducts out, I had him show me how to replace the old filter and now I'm good to go. There are arrows on lots of the filters to show you what direction they need to go into the furnace. There are dozens of websites that show you step by step with written directions and pictures on how to change filters - do a search online for "how to change furnace filters" and pick one to check out. Change most filters every 2 to 3 months.