furnace filter - in vs out

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with the recent weather in the Chicago area being really cold, I've been playing with the furnace filter... forced air - usual setup -
It's the 20x25 slide in kind - using a medium pleated version vs standard fiberglass
Trying to decide between :
A - leaving it in and having more back pressure on fan motor, and also creating less air flow delivery to rooms
B - taking it out & having less back pressure, and creating more air flow to the rooms
I guess this decision works both in the really cold days of winter, and the really hot days of summer -
?????
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The question is not whether or not you should *remove* the filter (no, you shouldn't) it's more about using the correct filter and keeping it changed and/or clean.
http://www.furnacefiltercare.com /
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ps56k wrote:

The A/C evaporator coil will catch the dust bunnies that are now trapped in the air filter. The coil is supposed to keep itself clean via the condensed humidity running off the fins, but might be overfuzzed. Challenging place to clean.
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I've never heard of that "keeps itself clean". But I have heard of, and seen a lot of very dirty evaporators.
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

I've pealed layers of pet hair off evaporators that looked like a layer of felt. When I pulled it off, all the dirt came with it leaving a nice clean coil.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

When I replaced my old heat pump, the heat exchanger was only slightly dirty on the air inlet side. I guess that electronic air cleaner really worked for the 25 years it was in use.
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I can easily believe that. Meow.
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On Wed, 17 Feb 2010 13:44:10 -0600, The Daring Dufas

My evaporator is totally surrounded by ductwork. Is that not the right way to do it? Should there be removable sides?
Is it usually the homeowner's obligation to cut into the ducts?
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mm wrote:

I recently had to use a jigsaw to cut an access door into a metal duct in a commercial building to get to the evaporator to clean it. When my buddy and I install ductwork we usually go with fiberglass duct board which can be cut with a razor knife. There have been times when I would have to slide the A coil out of its housing to clean it. If the lines are long enough it's easy, otherwise the system has to be pumped down and the line set disconnected in order to remove the coil. If you replace your filters as recommended, your evaporator coil will never get dirty enough to require drastic measures to clean it. The "A" coil which is the most common evaporator in a typical residential HVAC system is usually in a factory made metal housing with one or more sides that are removable so the coil can be slid out for repair, replacement or cleaning.
TDD
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On Sat, 20 Feb 2010 22:29:52 -0600, The Daring Dufas

Well, at least it wasn't that I wanted to clean it. The condensate, instead of going out the tube and over to the sump in the basement floor, would overflow and run out through the base of the furnace! I had cut the plastic pipe off and looked down the pipe and run water through it and it was fine, and then reattached it and it worked no better. So I wanted to look closer, and I cut a 7x7 inch hole. Now I would make it a lot bigger, but I woudln't have found the problem.
The pipe went down an inch, two feet to the wall, and down 4 feet to the floor (then to the sump). Eventually I made it start by going down 13 inches, two feet to the wall, and down 3 feet to the floor, and after that it worked fine. (I assumed my neighbor's furnaces were all the same as mine and worked fine, but now I realize I should have looked at some of them. Now they've all been replaced.)

This must one of the few places they really economized on this house, so I shouldn't complain. Thanks, and thanks SMormon.
When I get a new furnace this year, I'll try to make sure that things are accessible.
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Ideally, the duct work comes apart one side, with a couple screws. Most home owners don't ever dissemble the evaporator part of the system. Some might pull the access panel off, and spray some cleaner on the coils. But, usually it's the HVAC guys who do evaporator cleaning.
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On Tue 16 Feb 2010 02:04:09p, ps56k told us...

Heating and/or cooling units were simply not meant to be run without filters in place. If you value your equipment, you won't run it without a proper filter in place.
If you've ever removed a dirty filter and looked at what it collected, imagine that colllecting on the fins of your a/c, or coating the insides of your heat exchanger or air handler.
If you're concdrned about air flow, look for filteres that have less resistance. They may not clean the air as well, butat least it willa be better than nothing.
This not even to mention the dirt that you'rte blowing right back into your rooms if not using a filter.
Where would you get such an idea?
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

To further this, if you want to use a finer filter and are finding that it is restricting the flow too much, you need to go to a larger version of the filter to compensate for it's greater resistance. Depending on the configuration of your return system this can be easy or difficult to do.
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On Tue 16 Feb 2010 03:36:22p, Pete C. told us...

Another thought, too, would be using an electrostatic filter. They often have good air flow, but the electrostatic properties usually have a strong attraction for dust, pollen, etc. Many are permanent, some are disposable.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

I don't consider the drop in replacement filters that claim to be "electrostatic" to be legitimate electrostatic filters. The true electrostatic precipitators have a washable metal grid and a power supply unit, and will not fit in place of a standard 1" media filter. The real electrostatic filters work very well as long as you wash them regularly.
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On Tue 16 Feb 2010 06:50:23p, Pete C. told us...

If you're talking about electronic air cleaners; e.g., Honeywell, I agree. However, the drop-in electgrostatic filters do have less air resistance and tend to filter better than a simple fiberglass filter, although probably not as well as according shaped media filter.
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Wayne Boatwright wrote:

I seriously doubt they have less air resistance than simple fiberglass filters. Those things have almost no real filtration - you can see through them.
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Pete C. wrote:

I have seen electronic filters that slide into the standard 1" space, with the power supply on a cable from it. I have no idea how good they were.
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My neighbor said he had poor heat so we looked at his furnace and AC coil, he didnt have a filter, we looked at the AC coil it was so clogged shut and caked with years of dust no air could pass, we removed it completely and he said got heat for the first time since buying the place, that spring he power washed it. It doesnt take long and all the dust that bypasses a filter will hit the coil. My filter didnt seal 100% and its a 4" pleated 400$ april air unit, every year or so I have to clean my coils with a 400$ air filter. So dont do it and check the AC coil insted.
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On Tue, 16 Feb 2010 15:04:09 -0600, "ps56k"

If you take it out how will the air be filtered? If you want more air-flow, just leave the blower fan on 24/7.
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