What's the Best Air Filter for Indoor Air Quality?

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Lance Jones

Subject: Washable air filters

In my experience the powered electrostatic filters remove nearly everything from the air stream. The navy uses these on submarines to take the pollutants out of the air, in this usage we washed them monthly due to the amount of things they pull from the air. I have had a big Honeywell system on one house I have owned - it was the only house that never had a dust problem. The filter pulled everything from the air. Every 2 or 3 months I would run the cells through the dishwasher then give them a quick look for broken wires. An hour with the blower on and the power off drys them then back on with the power for another 3 months.

Warm in California

Subject: Washable filters

Our Honeywell Electrstatic filters, like the one in the picture on this article, are still going strong after 25 years of operation. I follow the suggestion of the manufacturer and run them through the dishwasher every six to 9 months.

I think they work because our allergies kick up when the need to be cleaned and abate when I clean them.

Just our rexperience.

Jorg Fleige

Subject: Washable furnace filters 2

I have been using washable filters for 15 years. They are simply blasted out in my driveway with a hose (opposite of airflow), drained about 10 minutes and put back in the furnace. The furnace dries the filter out in minutes, so bacteria is never a concern. We wash them once a year, as we only run the furnace for about 3-4 months in the winter and only then about half time (live in California). Not only does it save replacing them, but saves a trip to the store, which is probably the most environmentally part. I recently had the furnace looked at by an installer and he stated we had very little dust buildup since it was last checked 9 years ago. If we need clean air in our house, we open it up for an hour or two - on warm days of course. Simple. Washable filters are cheap and environmentally friendly. Think about what happens to all those disposed of filters you toss!

Philip Thomas

Subject: Washable furnace filters

Mr. Sinclair's comments are focused on selling filters. Washable electrostatic filters can have much higher MERV ratings than the disposable ones. So you are getting better air filtration for you and your furnace. The water from a washed furnace filter is no more toxic than the water you wash the floor or walls of your house. You flush or pour that down the drain. Anything will grow mold if you put it away damp. Let it dry out first, (Duh!) Over time, the disposables cost more than the washable, plus the cost of disposing and landfill issues. If you want higher filtration, spend less money, have a more environmentally friendly home, use a washable filter, clean it every 4-6 weeks and let it dry before you put it back in place.

Ron

Subject: Too many negative comments?

The comments about washable filters do seem to be aimed at selling disposable filters. These higher MERV disposable are in the $15-25 range at our major box stores and not much different in price online.
I have a washable filter in the grill in our wall and a 5" thick MERV 8-10 (whichever I can get) in my air handler where the Honeywell electrostatic once lived until I tired of cleaning that thing.
Only change the MERV 10 filter at 2-3 yr intervals.

Yelnik Igwawa

Subject: Filters vs. other air filtration systems

Just an observation, as I've tried to educate myself about home filtration systems, I have found a surprising number of sites that try to appear unbiased, but with a little reading can be seen to be favoring filters over all other system types. It may be that filters are better for certain applications. But the fact that they're being sold as 'all-things-to-all-people' makes me suspicious. The fact that at least a couple of sites (usually .org sites) appear to be hiding their identity also makes me suspicious. It also makes me wonder what so good about the non-filter systems that has the filter folks so worried.

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what should you pay.  You pay what you can afford.  1100sqft unit requires a min. of a two ton unit.  prices range from 2100-2900 depending upon the seers of the system.  13 seer is the min. the law requires  and for your situation with 1100 sqft.  do not worry about the seers as long as it is to code.  the bigger the house the more seers for economy.  1100 sqft is at the border line for a two ton system.  It is more important to have your new system balance, there is where you get the economy on your electric bill and gas.  Bryant, lenox, ruud and carrier are the brands you should stay with.All have the same basic factory warrantee and will last you longer than you expect as long as you maintain it with regular check ups twice a year once in the spring and then in the fall.

raymond gonzalez
koolray heating and air
 clarksville,tn
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APRStore.com offers a nice sizing chart for HVAC capacitors and furnace capacitors. Most of the capacitors I've looked at are $5 to $15 dollars, so a little less than Home Depot and Lowes.

 

Replacement is really easy, but be sure to watch a youtube video on how to replace it like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IpydZIsOJg

 

Stay safe and hire a professional if you feel unsure about doing it yourself!

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The only thing of importance, is the hvac professional you choose to use. Alot of manufacturer's pieces are built relatively the same, and will last about the same amount of time. The thing that matters most is what you can not compare between companies, and that is the installation. Purchasing a system is not like purchasing a car, where no matter where you buy it, they are all the same. Each installation is different, and usually what you are paying for is the level of expertise, and quality of the installation, the company who will actual give you the warranty, and the comfort that you will receive. Manufacturers warranties disappear every day. They always have a loophole where they can get out of paying, but your local dealer wants to keep you happy for future work, and to protect his reputation in the communiy. Look up 4 year old Nordyne and Goodman warranty problems. Choose the HVAC professional first. It will cost you the least in the long run. I have had to totally redo plenty of installations that were just performed because of an uncomfortable customer, and a system that keeps breaking down. The equipment is only as good as it's installation, and over 70% are not installed correctly.
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I think maybe you are confusing SEER, which is an efficiency-related rating (higher SEER means more effective use of the electric power used to compress the gas), and TONS rating, which is a measure of the total cooling power of the system. (Tons used to mean how many tons per hour of ice was used in evaporative cooling building systems - a Refrigeration or Cooling Ton equals 12,000 Btu/Hour of energy exchange. A BTU, which is another antique measure but still used, is the energy needed to change the temperature of a pound of water one degree fahrenheit. Unfortunately, because of varying humidity and evaporation, this is not readily related to house air heating or cooling without a lot of assumptions and some computations. Relating this to today's world - the Manuals BayAreaAc referred to account for all these energy conversions and determine an estimated cooling (or heating) requirement for your specific house. The type of construction, solar exposure, general climatic conditions such as average temperatures, humidity, and hottest and coldest normal ambient temperatures and desired inside temperture are all taken into account in the more sophisticated versions of the analysis, so there is no "standard", though a rough old rule of thumb was about 1 ton of cooling per 500SF of house. Obviously, this was a WAG only because it did not account for insulation, type of roofing, whether you live in Alaska or Miami, etc. The ACCA manuals do a very simplified form of evaluation to arrive at a "design", which generally will be adequate. OF course, highly precise calculations are not really needed because A/C units generally come in even ton ratings - so if you are at say 2.6 ton requirement you will be getting a 3-ton unit anyway. SEER ratings are not a direct measure of efficiency, but the relative difference between ratings gives you good idea of the unit's relative efficency in using electricity - so a 16 SEER should be about 19% more efficient (so roughly comparable lower electricity bill) than a comparably sized 13 SEER unit. 13 SEER is the lowest efficiency currently allowed to be built for general use, 19 SEER is about the highest efficiency made by pretty much all manufacturers, and about 25 SEER is the highest rated though very pricey shelf-item units, though special construction custom units can reach about 30 SEER. Note however, like any government sponsored rating, much of it is hooey when you get down to it - for instance, SEER ratings are figured based on 80 degree inside air temp and 82 degrees outside, when that is far from the normal case of mid to low seventies inside and high eighties or above outdoors. This makes the absolute SEER rating meaningless, but relative numbers still have meaning in comparing units. Note these efficiency ratings are for conventional air conditoners and heat pumps working in ambient air conditions. Ground sourced Geothermal or lake/river exchange cooling units, though initially more expensive in most cases, can greatly exceed the air-exchange unit efficiencies because they are exchanging heat with cold natural water rather than with a high-temperature outside air, and instead of continually compressing a gas are just circulating cold water. I worked on one geothermal cooling project which had almost infinite efficiency, which of course makes no sense - but the only power was for sensors and a control valve as the water flow was single-pass under gravity flow, so no power was used to circulate the water.