Home Air Filters

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
munemaker
Posts: 4174
Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:14 pm

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by munemaker »

ThankYouJack wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:30 am How often do you replace them and where do you get them? I've heard that you're suppose to replace them every three months. My house has 4 of them, so if I pay $15 / each that would be $240 / year.
I was changing them twice during the heating season. Then I read the owner's manual for the furnace, and read that they should be changed annually. I now change the furnace filter and water pad for the humidifier annually.

I buy OEM filters and water pads on Amazon. You have to be extremely careful not to get knock offs.
wtjbatman
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:55 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by wtjbatman »

tibbitts wrote: How is your hvac designed such that you need 4 filters (in a residence?) Are you filtering the same air at multiple points? Obviously some huge houses do need 4 or more filters, but I'm guessing those homeowners have a lot more expensive issues than paying $240/year for filters.
Not OP, but I have a modest house (4 bedroom ranch, 1700sq ft, built in 2016), and I have 5 air filters I replace. One in each bedroom (14x14x1), and one in the primary hallway (14x24x1). This is our first home. Is that unusual?
A440
Posts: 628
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:46 am
Location: NJ

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by A440 »

This link about furnace filters from the people at Family Handyman might be helpful in choosing:
https://www.familyhandyman.com/heating- ... rs-to-buy/
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.
stoptothink
Posts: 8692
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by stoptothink »

anoop wrote: Mon May 13, 2019 9:56 am
stoptothink wrote: Mon May 13, 2019 8:53 am They hardly look dirty at all when I replace them.
Could it be that it is not very effective at filtering?
Doubtful, our HVAC guy (we get a "tune-up" every summer) had the same sentiment as everybody else's: in general, the cheaper the filter the better the filtering and for the overall health of the system. He told us last time that probably half of the homes he goes to, the people don't even realize they have to change them at all. It's pretty much the same with car air filters, the expensive ones are only "better" in that you have to change them less often; they don't actually function better.
anoop
Posts: 1992
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:33 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by anoop »

wtjbatman wrote: Mon May 13, 2019 10:33 am Not OP, but I have a modest house (4 bedroom ranch, 1700sq ft, built in 2016), and I have 5 air filters I replace. One in each bedroom (14x14x1), and one in the primary hallway (14x24x1). This is our first home. Is that unusual?
This seems like a lot. I have a 2000 sq ft house built in 2015 and have only 2 filters -- a 20x30x1 in the entry foyer and a 14x14x1 in the master bedroom.
wtjbatman
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:55 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by wtjbatman »

anoop wrote: Mon May 13, 2019 10:53 am
wtjbatman wrote: Mon May 13, 2019 10:33 am Not OP, but I have a modest house (4 bedroom ranch, 1700sq ft, built in 2016), and I have 5 air filters I replace. One in each bedroom (14x14x1), and one in the primary hallway (14x24x1). This is our first home. Is that unusual?
This seems like a lot. I have a 2000 sq ft house built in 2015 and have only 2 filters -- a 20x30x1 in the entry foyer and a 14x14x1 in the master bedroom.
Interesting. I see talk of one or two air filters for a much larger home, and here I am with five. I wonder if it's better or worse? Not that I'm particularly worried (or can do anything about it), I'm just curious.
User avatar
flossy21
Posts: 524
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 2:04 pm

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by flossy21 »

I replace them about every 3 or 4 months. I buy them from Amazon. Usually I buy a box of 2 or 6 depending on the filter. I buy Filtrete brand and I can almost always find a rebate form for buying multiples on their website somewhere. I have them on Amazon Subscribe & Save so I get 5% for using my Amazon Card and then 5% for buying them on Subscribe & Save.

Recently Filtrete came out with a Smart Filter (link below) that incorporates a sensor which bluetooth connects to a phone app. I installed 2 of these about 1 month ago. Keep in mind I normally replace quarterly but so far they are showing 80%+ life on the app so I am thinking I will be replacing less frequently if they continue to show good life.

https://www.filtrete.com/3M/en_US/filtr ... echnology/
User avatar
FrugalInvestor
Posts: 5686
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 12:20 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by FrugalInvestor »

wtjbatman wrote: Mon May 13, 2019 10:33 am
tibbitts wrote: How is your hvac designed such that you need 4 filters (in a residence?) Are you filtering the same air at multiple points? Obviously some huge houses do need 4 or more filters, but I'm guessing those homeowners have a lot more expensive issues than paying $240/year for filters.
Not OP, but I have a modest house (4 bedroom ranch, 1700sq ft, built in 2016), and I have 5 air filters I replace. One in each bedroom (14x14x1), and one in the primary hallway (14x24x1). This is our first home. Is that unusual?
It's not typical but not bad and probably good. Having sufficient free airflow makes the system more efficient. Having air intakes in each bedroom keeps the air flowing and balanced well throughout the house. The only downside may be filter costs but if you're filtering less air at each point (because it's divided up more ways) you shouldn't need to change the filters as often. Visual inspections over time should tell you this. The filters will discolor as they catch more impurities.
Have a plan, stay the course and simplify, but most importantly....Ignore the Noise!
megabad
Posts: 3316
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:00 pm

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by megabad »

ThankYouJack wrote: Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:30 am How often do you replace them and where do you get them? I've heard that you're suppose to replace them every three months. My house has 4 of them, so if I pay $15 / each that would be $240 / year.
Depends on what kind of filter you use:

1) Cheap fiberglass/wool, lightly used - once per 6 months (this is me/us, who are out ~12-15 hrs per day)
2) Cheap fiberglass/wool, normal use - once per 3 months (this is my parents, who leave hvac running all the time)
3) 1" pleated, normal use - once per month (once these pick up a bunch of dust, I can hear them, and my HVAC fan screaming so I would change more often if you use these)
...
there are a bunch of high capacity models that all vary on capacity/time between changes and I don't have knowledge about them.

I generally agree that almost everyone with a 1" filter should be using cheap fiberglass since your HVAC was likely installed and designed to handle that. If you need additional air filtration for allergies, then I might buy a separate purifier as it will be more effective and have no adverse impact on your HVAC system.
andypanda
Posts: 554
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by andypanda »

" Having air intakes in each bedroom keeps the air flowing and balanced well throughout the house."

From what I was told, and from what I've read, having at least one return in each room is ideal. In the case of a bedroom, if there isn't a return it's difficult for the system to push air into the room when the door is closed.

Our 27-year-old single story has one large central return and one small 14" x 14" in the master bedroom. The calculations done prior to the installation of the new heat pump and duct work showed that we could possibly use one in the the family room on the far end of the house, but the air flow was balanced without it. Most houses don't have enough returns. Many have undersized duct work.

Fwiw, the good pros on hvac-talk have pointed out, using some sad examples, why you never put a return in a bathroom. Just don't. It's been done.
andypanda
Posts: 554
Joined: Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:11 pm
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by andypanda »

"with little noticeable restriction of airflow through the forced-air heating/cooling system"

That's what Consumer Reports says. What do they mean by noticeable? The HVAC pros use precise measuring instruments to measure the air flow of specific systems that are required to operate at certain pressures, air speeds and air volumes. Each home and system installation is different. The way many of them describe it, it's not like buying a car or a washing machine that's delivered completely assembled. An HVAC system - and duct work - is brought to the house in pieces and assembled in the driveway and installed with frequent adaptations depending on how the house was built, the insulation, shade, direction, window types, etc. The biggest problem they face are undersized ducts and lack of adequately sized return ducts. And oversized outdoor units.

I don't have any real experience, but the well trained pros seem to agree that the filter companies aren't doing the homeowners any favors.
anoop
Posts: 1992
Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2014 1:33 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by anoop »

Here are images of what my air filter looks like after 3 months of use:
http://anoop.updog.co/IMG_2368.JPG
http://anoop.updog.co/IMG_2369.JPG
rj342
Posts: 726
Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:21 pm

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by rj342 »

In the 90s I used a couple Allergy Free brand washable electrostatic air filters. Finally gave up on them due to difficulty cleaning.
Been using the 1" MERV 6 disposable filters, which gets more dust and pollen than fiberglass ones, but is the minimum airflow restriction for that type. The ultra allergy ones quickly strained the air handler so def stay away from those. I get about 2 months out of them... the stated up to 3 months is optimistic. Think these about $6 per.
BIGal
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:34 pm

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by BIGal »

Every 6 months. MERV 11, 20x25x5. Buy 3 for $68 (last cost). All is well with furnace/AC and most importantly our health.
mpnret
Posts: 333
Joined: Sun May 20, 2018 9:16 am

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by mpnret »

Every 2 years (per manufacturers recomendation). I have a Aprilaire 201 filter. It is a pleated 20x25x6 filter and has the same surface area as 31 20x20x1 filters. HD stocks MERV 11 replacement filters for $23.
sillysaver
Posts: 196
Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Home Air Filters

Post by sillysaver »

I used to use the high MERV, electro-statically charged filters until we replaced the HVAC. The installer told us these are not good for the system and it will wear down more quickly due to the constricted airflow. Also, these things attract dust like crazy. I spent a lot of time cleaning the accumulated dust and fibers when we made the switch, while wearing a mask to protect my lungs.

Since then, we're using the cheap pleated filters (about 5 MERV) available at the hardware store. For our health, we have a couple of HEPA filters and a brilliant device, the Reme Halo, which is a UV light that creates ozone, attached to the heating and cooling ducts in the attic. There is a noticeable improvement in air quality since adding this to our system.
Post Reply