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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    78

    Default Furnace filter

    Hi, I have a sister who's on a pretty tight budget. She has a "newer" furnace and I keep on her to change her filters routinely. Here's the issue. Her housing for the filter fits a 16x25x4" filter. These babies run about $30+ per filter (at the "box" stores). What's up with that? My unit..and most I've seen use a 1" thick filter which costs a fraction of the 4" filter. I don't see anything else really different about her unit than mine or others. What's the rational for a 4" filter? Can I change the filter housing or retrofit something to allow her to use a 1" filter? I notice that the 4" filter mentions on the package that it may only have to be changed once every 6 or 12 months. So, does it have a longer interval between changes? She has 4 kids and 2 dogs in a small townhouse. She usually requires frequent changes. Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Furnace filter

    The 4" media filters are often more cost effective because you cna install a MERV 8 filter and it will last as long as 12 motnhs if you don't run the fan constantly. Comparatively a 1" pleated filter will only be good for 1-3 months.

    You'll easily get 4-6 months even if you run the furnace fan constantly depending on the amount of airflow and how often you vacuum.

    Ultimately with a lot of people and pets you should be vacuuming weekly. That will collect 95% or more of your dust.

    The purpose of a filter is to keep dust out of the equipment and protect it, not clean the air. That's a side benefit. You don;t need more than a MERV 8. A MERV 8 will also last longer without reduced airflow than a MERV 10, 11 or 13 and is still fine enough to catch most dust, dander, pollen. A home isn't a ************** plant or a hospital ICU, you don't need to capture bacteria and ultra fine particles.... especially on a tight budget. You're health will be better improved by eating better food and having healthy lifestyles than installing a expensive air filter.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,941

    Default Re: Furnace filter

    You shouldn't have to change your filters more than twice a year, if you do, then you'd best be assessing your environment to see where the dust, dander, hair, etc. is coming from.

    I can tell you that if her return air grill is at floor level that it will pull in a huge amount of dust and dirt. If the RA grill is near or in the ceiling, there will be far less. If the grill is at the floor, then I highly recommend replacing the existing grill with one that will hold a filter, then install a filter in it. This will stop more than half of the dust that is now clogging the other filters. The best part is that a grill of this nature only requires the cheaper filters. I would still go with a pleated filter rather than the mesh type because it will capture more debris.

    Another thing, if dust and dirt is an issue, then I would also recommend reassessing the vacuum cleaner being used in the house. Most are poorly constructed with poor filtration, meaning that a good percentage of the dirt picked up is spewed right back into the air. Yes, you're going to pay more for a good quality vacuum cleaner, but your lungs and your environment are going to thank you for it. Finally, a good vacuum is not necessarily an expensive one.

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Furnace filter

    Thanks for the input guys. I didn't think we should be shelling out $30 every 2 months or so. I did see..and like the idea of the filter on the return grill. We'll give that a try AS WELL AS check the efficiency of her vacuum cleaner. Re: the return grill filter. That shouldn't affect the return flow? (I'm supposing that it's not a really efficient (restrictive) filter AND it also should be checked regularly for buildup). Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    6,323

    Default Re: Furnace filter

    Another idea is to use washable filters: remove, rinse, dry, re-install.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,941

    Default Re: Furnace filter

    Quote Originally Posted by drewp View Post
    Re: the return grill filter. That shouldn't affect the return flow? (I'm supposing that it's not a really efficient (restrictive) filter AND it also should be checked regularly for buildup). Thanks again.
    No, as long as the filter is kept clean, there will be little restriction. I used this method at my last house that had the return air at the floor just inside the garage door. I had a woodshop in the garage, so there was a little extra dust that came in right where the grill was. After installing a filter there, the furnace filter life significantly increased. We also ran our furnace fan almost 24/7 as it was used to circulate the air in the house in addition to any heating or cooling needs.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    78

    Default Re: Furnace filter

    Re: the washable, reusable filters. I just "googled" them and found several options for a "washable, reusable, electrostatic filter" replacement. It looks like every couple of months or so, you spray on a "cleaner" (intake side), then rinse through the other side. Then let it dry thoroughly. This sounds a lot like what I do with my (reusable) K&N air filter in my vehicle. What do you guys think of these? Sounds like a nice concept. Money saving AND keeps excess material out of landfills, etc.

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