LESLIE: Well, if you’ve got a forced air heating and cooling system, then let me tell you that air filters are your friend. But not all filters are created equal.
TOM: That’s right. Some filters will do a good job and stop contaminants like dust and mold but others will only stop things that are bigger than maybe, say, a small rock, pebble, boulder.
LESLIE: (chuckling) It’s true.
TOM: To find out the difference, we’re going to welcome host Kevin O’Connor and heating expert Richard Trethewey from TV’s This Old House.
And Kevin, you know, protecting your lungs and your HVAC equipment are both parts of the job of the filter.
KEVIN: Yeah, that’s right. Replacing the filters in your heating and cooling system not only helps keep the air you breathe free of dust and other particles; it can also protect your equipment.
Richard, there are a lot of filter options out there. Can you walk us a few of the choices?
RICHARD: Well, filters are such an important part of any forced air system. I mean they really protect you and the equipment. I’m not sure what you think but I think I want to protect myself as much as anything. I don’t want anything getting down into my lungs. So it starts with those cheap, blue, spun filters. You see them all the time. And I’ve got to tell you, if you can see through them, they’re not going to do much to keep out impurities. They might stop a bottle or a rock from going down the ductwork but not much more.
Now, pleated filters are clearly better. The deeper the filter, the more surface area, the air has more time to sit on those pleats and really get a high-level filtration. And electrostatic pleated filters are even better.
KEVIN: And even one step up from electrostatic filters are electronic filters. How do you feel about those?
RICHARD: I like them very much because those allow a little electric charge to make the impurities stick to that media. And you can put them in the dishwasher and keep them clean.
KEVIN: Alright, and they’re good for anyone who’s got asthma or allergies. So to learn more about disposal forced air filters and to watch a video of an electronic filter installation, visit us at ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Filtering out the good from the bad and ugly.
Richard Trethewey and Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: Glad to be here.
LESLIE: Hey, you know, Tom, now that we are officially in the modern age, having installed a cooling system in a hot water-based house …
LESLIE: … I can be one of those many people that forgets to change my air filters. (chuckles)
TOM: No, you won’t because I will harass you about it and remind you every single week or, better yet, follow the advice of Kevin and Richard and go get an electronic air cleaner.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Well, you know what? In the meantime, I’ll start collecting those small rocks for you.
TOM: Yeah, you do that. (Leslie chuckles)
Hey, you can learn more about your heating and cooling system by also watching Ask This Old House on PBS and Ask This Old House is brought to you by Bellawood prefinished hardwood floors.