Central Air Filter: Worth it?

I'm trying to decide if it is worth $350-400 to install a Aprilaire Space Gard #2400 air filter when I purchase my new furnace. I understand that the filter should last about a year (we don't have any pets or smoking or extraordinary dust issues inside the house) and cost about $30-45 a pop.
On the other hand, the American Standard Freedom 90 glossy brochure says that a pleated replacement air filter can be used inside the furnace itself, not just the cheesy typical furnace filter that is designed to keep golf balls and grapefruit outside of the blower. Would I be better off just buying a higher quality pleated filter, like the 3M Filtrete series, in the furnace or is the Space Gard really worth it? Thanks!
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No question! Yes! Most furnaces are designed to accept a pleated paper filter inside the cabinate, that said, most are a very cheesy set ups! Space Gaurd, Air Bear is another good one. Both are excelant. You may or may not get a year out of one though. Depends on many things, if you haver pets for example. I woud figure 6 months to a year on a change. Greg
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wrote:

You have to be nuts. Unless you have major allergies, why would you pay $400 up front and then pay an extra $15 a year for more filtration?
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Carrie Simpson wrote:

I assume tht the Aprilaire is an electronic filter, at least it should be for that price. I've had electronic filters for a long time because my wife has asthma (and a cat) and we apprently live in a dust bowl. If the Aprilaire is the kind that uses a fiber material between metal mesh that has an electrical charge, the filter will not last a year, but should be changed at least every 3 months. Actually, any filter, electronic or otherwise needs to be changed or cleaned more frequently than once a year.
Since you don't have any problems there is no reason to install an electronic filter. Use a 3M Filtrete or any of the pleated filters that have an internal wire frame. Even the $4 kind will be fine, but if spending $10 a pop makes you feel better, do it. But, change the filter every 3 months, and if they don't show any visible change then change them at a minimum of every 6 months. Make sure that the filter fits snuggly in the furnace so that air does not bypass the filter.
Please note that saving the $400 for installation of the Aprilaire will allow you to buy a $10 filter and change it every 3 months for 10 years. That will provide way better filtration and the Aprilaire with a change once a year.
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Aprilaire is not an electronic filter. It uses a fan-folded pleated media.
-al sung
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You assumed wrong! Space gaurd is an oversized pleated paper filter. Greg
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Greg O wrote:

Oh well. Then forget everything I read. The Space guard is just a plain simple ripoff. See Turtle's statement. Even if the Space guard is a perfect trap, it isn't that much better than a $10 filter (cost depends on size of course). Lots of systems use two filters in a V shape so that the area of the filter is about double that of a flat filter. That type of arrangement shouldn't cost much more than $25 extra over a flat layout.
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This is Turtle.
I have been called on this in the past but I can't see $500.00 for a filter system and maybe $50.00 a year in cost maintain when a good 3M will do just about 99% as good as a Aprilaire system. For that 1% better the cost is high.
Your Call and not mine.
TURTLE
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I agree with Turtle.
You're best off buying Filtrete Ultra Allergen filters in bulk from one of the many online E-tailers and changing it 4 times a year.
Plus, if you enter a particularly 'stinky' period, like doing alot of grilling in the house, you can easily change the filter without thinking about cost.
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April Air 2400 media leak and do not seal well, alowing bypass dust around the casing. Air Bear is better and easier to change. Yes you will get 1 yr on a filter, I get more. 3M good filters but you change alot more often so replacement cost may be equal. Air Bear in the long run would be better for filtering, not clogging fast and ease of use.
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TURTLE wrote:

Thanks Turtle and everybody. I'm leaning toward just using the 3M filtrete filters. The only concern I have with them vs. the Space Gard or Air Bear is airflow due the reduced area. Is the air flow significantly reduced for 3M either when the filter is clean or just half full? Thanks!
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There is some airflow loss of course but if you have a properly designed HVAC system it won't be a factor. If your system is borderling, you shouldn't be buying the HVAC system you picked out. One of the biggest mistakes made in choosing an HVAC system is inadequate air handlers.

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There should be airflow ratings on all filters, 3m ive heard are restrictive due to the small filtering area and restrict faster with dirt buildup. Use 3 M till you research it more.
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This is Turtle.
If you like E-mail me and figure out the filter size verses the tonage of cooling / air volume needed and also the discharge ducting and return duct work being ok for the 3M type filter. I need you to describe the ducting system out in sizes and tonage of the units. If you like here start with all the sizes of the return ducting system and the discharge ducting system. Then the tonage of the cooling system and the model and serial number of the inside unit and outside unit. The 3 M Filter are a little restictive and you have to concider that into the air volume you need.
TURTLE
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Check Consumer Reports at the library for their review of air filters. 3M Filtrete ultra allergen do well. There are some furnace filters that do slightly better.... but are they worth it?

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Check out WW Grainger, their catalog has lots of good information on air filters. I.E. their ratings, the amount of static pressure and other information. I would be leery of installing an manufactures air filter, your stuck for parts and filters (possibly). Installing an high performance pleated air filter is the method I use. Grainger puts them on sale 2X a year and they are reasonable, ~$5 each then. I need 2 filters so a box of 12 lasts me 1/2 a year.
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wrote:

That sounds like a lot of money for a filter. I used to buy the really cheap throw away filters but noticed it would still let a lot of dust go thru. I then bought one of the 3m washable filters (25 dollars or so) and it's been great. Easy to clean and does a great job. Every ac service guy that has come out said I made the right choice.
If you are not allergic and don't even have pets I would not bother spending more than 25 bucks or so on a washable filter.
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Space guard - Air bear and any other large filter assembly are not Rip Offs. They have more air flow-less restriction require only yearly changing and many offer better filtration. But then cheap is cheap if thats all you can afford.
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