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Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: Wailer
Date: February 10, 2010 01:24PM
I usually replace my filters twice a year. Yeah, yeah, I know they say every 90 days, but I'm always suspect about advice when it comes from the filter manufacturer, oil changer, dentist, etc.

I usually get the least expensive filters because them come in a 3-pack and per filter they are about 10% the cost of the most expensive filter of the same size. There are about 4 grades of filters available at Home Depot. Good, Better, Best, Premium or something like that. I'd love to see a manufacturer try Value, Mediocre, Good and Gooder, but I digress.

Is it worth paying 10x for a "premium" filter from Filtrate versus the generic brand. We have no specific allergies at here. It seems like shutting a window would do more to reduce the amount of dust, pollen, etc than any filter could. It also seems like changing a cheap filter 2x more often would be better than using a premium filter. Are these high-end filters for everyone's benefit or just people with sensitive allergies? Can anyone tell the difference? Is it just a scam?
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 10, 2010 01:28PM
The more expensive ones will filter out finer particulates, but if you don't have any problems with the way the cheap ones perform for you then I wouldn't bother switching now.

I switched to a medium price range filter that is rated for 6 months and seems to work well for me.
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: billb
Date: February 10, 2010 01:31PM
just vacuum it off and put it back in backwards.
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: davester
Date: February 10, 2010 01:36PM
Changing a filter more often will do nothing for the ability of the filter to remove particulates. In fact, filtration ability generally increases as the filter gets more clogged. I think it is well worth spending the extra money on filtretes or better because regular hvac systems keep all sorts of dust suspended in the air in your home. The cheap fiberglass filters are only in there to protect the blower motor from very large size particulates. They do nothing for house dust or potentially hazardous breathable particulates.. If you combine having a decent filter with having a decent vacuum cleaner then the amount of dusting you do (and the amount of breathing of fine particulates) will likely drop significantly.




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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 10, 2010 01:36PM
I never get the Premium filters, way to expensive and they clog up faster because they let less particles through.
I usually get the mid line of filters. The cheap are just that, cheap and they only filter very large particles flying around in the air.

If I really wanted to filter the air in my house, I would get a stand alone HEPA filtration system, not try to use the AC filter for that.
I wouldnt get a washable filter either. They seem to be worse than the cheap filters.

Joe
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: DP
Date: February 10, 2010 01:39PM
I use the cheap ones. I've noticed no difference in the amount of dust in our house whether I use the expensive or cheap ones.
Another issue I had was forgetting to change the filter and I had a Filtrete installed. The furnace quit and I had to get a tech. It turned out the Filtrete got clogged up and lowered the air flow so some device got too hot and burned out. I think it was a safety switch of some kind that will shut off if the furnace gets too hot which obviously worked but cost me a few bucks. You HVAC pros probably know what it is.
At any rate I stopped using them as, again, I noticed no difference in dust reduction and Filtretes are expensive.
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: Carm
Date: February 10, 2010 01:42PM
Also, I replace my filters every two - three weeks in the summer (depending on the air flow). And once a month during the winter only if I use the heater. I have had the same filter since the cold weather started. No need to change it that often because I don't use the heater/ac that often during the winter.
I have two dogs, which contribute to frequent filter changes during the summer when the AC is on everyday.

Joe
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: February 10, 2010 01:45PM
cheap or not, the thing will have a micron specification shown on the label as to how well it filters
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: rankandfile
Date: February 10, 2010 01:49PM
Some of the "better" filters can, under certain conditions, create a stress on the H/A system because of the impeded air flow.
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: michael_s
Date: February 10, 2010 01:55PM
I've got the 4" thick filters in mine. Check them every 3 months or so. Replace when I can't see light thru it. I've had A/C guys tell me a slightly dirty filter stops more. They also said not to buy the expensive one. Mine run about $35.00 for the filtrete and $10 for the basic. We have three units.
I've switched to the cheap version. This thread reminded me to go check them.
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: February 10, 2010 02:18PM
It generally depends on how affected you and your family are by dust and particulates. I'm an asthmatic, so I get the mid-line filters and replace them every 2 months. I'm thinking about replacing the current one with a larger top end cell filter that has a smaller particulate size and lasts longer. I did that in our last house, and it made a HUGE difference for my general health. But so far, it's OK.
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: lafinfil
Date: February 10, 2010 03:35PM
I use one of the permanent electrostatic kind - just rinse it out a few times a year and you're good.
A little expensive up front ($25 or so) but lasts forever.

At my last house I put in an overpriced expensive Trane furnace and opted for
the Honeywell pleated thing that went between the furnace and return air duct.
It had it's own sealed box - about 4-5" worth of pleated media - lots of filter surface.

It filtered so well that when it got dirty (often in an 100 year old house) that the
sheet metal would POP when the blower kicked on. Expensive but very effective !



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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: February 10, 2010 06:06PM
Use the cheap ones and get a 20" Box Fan and put a pleated filter on the the backside, best
cheap air filter you can make. Newer systems like lots air flow and the pleated ones restrict
air flow.

Vacuuming off the dirty side and turning it around is not a very good idea, you're never
going to get all the dust off the dirty side and I suspect little by little the furnace is going
to pull the dust off that dirty side and push through your coil clogging it up and what gets
by that will be distributed throughout the house.

My late Father ran his own HVAC company for 33 years so I've been around just a few
installs
and service calls in my time, every summer from age 12-19 and if he needed some help Saturdays.

Our house has a Williamson Oil-Saver furnace and a 13SEER Heat Pump, my furnace takes
a 16x20 and a 20x20 filter directly in the furnace.

Here's a Lasko Box Fan with a slot for 20x20" filter.

[www.laskoproducts.com]



Grateful11
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Re: Home heating/air conditioning filters. Worth paying more?
Posted by: dk62
Date: February 11, 2010 09:13AM
You can also try Amazon, they have multi-packs at price that is sometimes lower than Home Depot.
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