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Saving money with better furnace filters?

Posted by jerry_nj (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 4, 08 at 9:51

I was watching an energy savings sequence on tv where a Home Depot guy was touting ways to save energy/money. All look familiar and believable except one: replace the cheap fiber glass (usually blue in color in my experience) air filter with a more expensive pleated filter and save $120 per year. He didn't say how that savings would accrue, but he said nothing that the savings might be do the money saved on having the heat exchanger professionally cleaned, say. Can one expect to expect to save this kind of money (both ac and heat) by having a more effective/efficient air filter? If yes, I'll pay the extra money for better filters.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

I don't know about saving money, but if your using a 1" filter, look out for the pleated ones (3M & Filtrete), as they are restrictive and will decrease airflow (increase static) and could damage your furnace.

Most duct systems are not properly designed for a more restrictive filter.

If, on the other hand, you want to have a 4 or 5" media filter installed, go ahead. They have much more surface area and very well give you better airflow.

V


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

I would say the more restrictive filters would be LESS efficient, in theory (less airflow).


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

Hum, makes me wonder if I misunderstood the bit on t.v. For a "proof" of filtering ability he poured table salt through the fiberglass (standard) filter, it went through, at least a lot of it did. None I could see went through the pleated filter.

I agree, more air resistance, less air, less heat transfer. My application is a heat pump, so the temperature change isn't large, perhaps 30 degrees when heating (as measured at the output side of the plenum compared to room temperature).


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

Now wait a minute. Are you telling mt 3 for $7 Natural Air pleated filters from HD are actually making my heat pump less efficient. I know they make a difference as far as home much dust goes through the house...we also have allergies. Still if the efficiency were a big issue, how could they get away with selling these...


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

I use the same filters Andrea. I see an advantage in standard pleated filters such as the ones we use, but the 3M Filtrete filters and the like are just too restrictive for many systems. I wouldn't be concerned with efficiency with using these filters. If you let them get very dirty, maybe. I was just saying that in theory, higher efficiency systems need to move plenty of air to stay efficient. Variable-speed blowers vary their speed to maintain CFM and maintain efficient operation.


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

Andre: Those filters are good.

I haven't seen the ad, but the only thing I could come up with is that the pleated filter (not too restrictive like a MERV 8) prevents dirt from forming on the indoor coil. A clean coil is more efficient than a dirty coil.


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

Thanks, good inputs.

So, how does one clean the indoor coils? I have a heat pump so I'm using them summer and winter. The opening for the filters gives some access to one side, but it is only a bit over 1" wide, so the home vacuum brush and hose will not fit in. Are there attachments one can buy for a standard tank-type home vacuum that can reach into narrow openings? My HP takes two filter, 14"x30"x1"

My HP has about 15 years of use on it, all with the low cost fiber glass filters, so I'm sure there could be some benefits from cleaning the coils. Is this a good service one might purchase from a heating/cooling contractor?


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

You need access to the underside of the coil where the air enters the coil. This side usually has more dirt deposited on it.

You can buy a self rinsing evaporator coil cleaning spray at an HVAC store, or a commercial supply store like Grainger. You spray the cleaner on the coil and the condensate from running the a/c rinses off the coil. Be careful with vacuum attachments - you don't want to bend the fine aluminum fins on the coil.

Good luck.


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

"Be careful with vacuum attachments - you don't want to bend the fine aluminum fins on the coil. "

Absolutely. You may want to hire a service contractor to perform a "tune-up" service and make certain they clean the coils as part of this service. The key to having a long system life is to keep it maintained well, so if you have not done so in a while you may want to have a service company out to do so.


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RE: Saving money with better furnace filters?

We have 30 years HVAC experience in Atlanta area. I have tried many brands and types of filters. We recommend BoAir brand filters. They are electrostatic with no polyester...low air flow restriction and good dust arrestance. They are expensive but worth it.


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