So as another part of our eco-challenge this week we took some time to get our heater ready for the winter. My husband has been removing plants from around out outdoor heating intake and we also purchased an electrostatic air filter.
These are reusable/washable air filters that fit in our furnace and are life-time guaranteed. We figure one will easily pay for itself in just one winter (we don't have air conditioning). They can be washed with just your hose (might be tough on really cold days...) and some even have carbon monoxide detectors and there are certainly some that make some pretty big air quality improvement claims. I'm guessing you would need to spend extra on HEPA filters, etc.
They are much heavier than your standard filter but I'm loving the idea of being able to wash and re-use it rather than throw them away. We figure we use about 6-8 each winter and they are quite large - so I'm pretty happy about that.
Here is an article I found that describes some of the features I described above. E-how has some great guides on just how they work and on maintaining them as well as some pros and cons of using them.
Overall I'm pretty excited about this small step. This along with some furnace instillation (an ongoing project which probably won't be done before the challenge ends) and I think we are going to have a nice winter in our house!
I'll try to remember to report back in a few months and tell you how we like it.