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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    11

    Question Are Media Filters really worth the added expense

    Hello. I have a 1.5 story home in Long Island NY and am having a central air conditioning system put in. I'm getting the infinity system (condenser/AH/Thermostat). Ductwork is being added as I'm writing you and the installer has asked me if I want a media filter added instead of a filter grill. He is recommending a Aprilaire 2210. I have 2 small children, but no allergies and have a cat & dog. Are they really worth the added expense? Price is reasonable after reviewing some other estimates I received.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Beatrice, NE
    Posts
    2,413
    Here is the way I see it. Manufacturers recommend changing the filter once a month with a good filter they go for abut 6 bucks around here at the hardware store, times 12 months and you spent $72 and had to deal with the filter every month. The Aprilaire will last a year, the replacement is less than the 12 -1" filters and is a better filter.

    Check filter prices in your area and do your own math.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    1,988
    The filter is primarily for keeping the indoor coil clean. I recommend a 4" or 5" media filter, NOT a 1" pleated filter because they restrict the air flow. Since you have pets (which I assume shed hair), I suggest installing a standard 1" fiberglass filter ahead of the extended media filter. The 1" filter will catch the big stuff and extend the life of the expensive filter.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for the replies! The guy here says I don't need the 1" filter with the Media filter he would add by the AH. Should I just say add it anyway as you (kdean1) recommends. This is ac only so I don't expect to have the unit running for more than 5 months at most a year.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    Yes. A cheaper media cabinet like a Trion Air Bear works great and aren't that expensive. I've always added one to ever system I've owned or had installed. The filters last 6-12 months depending on conditions and you benefit from lower static pressure. With a VS fan, it might save you 20-50 Watts whenever the fan is running. If you saved just 30 Watts and ran the fan 24-7, that's $26 per year @ $0.10/kw-hr.

    +1 on filter savings. Even if you only changed the 1" filter every 3 months, you're break even or ahead. Even after 12 months, if you have a smaller 2 ton systme and a larger 20x25x5 media filter, it will probably still be less restrictive than a new 1" filter unless you have a lot of pets and a large family with returns near the floor. How much you use a good vacuum cleaner makes a big difference.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    1,988
    Quote Originally Posted by Potsyboy View Post
    Thanks for the replies! The guy here says I don't need the 1" filter with the Media filter he would add by the AH. Should I just say add it anyway as you (kdean1) recommends. This is ac only so I don't expect to have the unit running for more than 5 months at most a year.
    Again, I say yes to the 1" pre-filter. The purpose is to catch the big dirt before it loads up the expensive media filter. So you spend $4-6/year for the 1" filters and it doubles (or more) the life of the media filter. Your installer is right, sort of. You don't NEED the 1" filter but it WILL benefit you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,744
    Quote Originally Posted by Potsyboy View Post
    Thanks for the replies! The guy here says I don't need the 1" filter with the Media filter he would add by the AH. Should I just say add it anyway as you (kdean1) recommends. This is ac only so I don't expect to have the unit running for more than 5 months at most a year.
    I agree with your HVAC guy. Do not install a 1" filter. It makes no sense.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,744
    Quote Originally Posted by Potsyboy View Post
    Hello. I have a 1.5 story home in Long Island NY and am having a central air conditioning system put in. I'm getting the infinity system (condenser/AH/Thermostat). Ductwork is being added as I'm writing you and the installer has asked me if I want a media filter added instead of a filter grill. He is recommending a Aprilaire 2210. I have 2 small children, but no allergies and have a cat & dog. Are they really worth the added expense? Price is reasonable after reviewing some other estimates I received.
    The reason why a hi-eff. filter is needed is for the increased surface area (less restriction) and it'll help quiet the air noise.

    But that said, the right size ductwork and return air grille is necessary (critical) also.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
    Posts
    2,981
    Quote Originally Posted by George2 View Post
    I agree with your HVAC guy. Do not install a 1" filter. It makes no sense.
    +1

    and don't put a second filter in the system. the media filter will be fine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    11
    Thanks for the input guys!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,466
    A 1" pleated filter before a media filter will grossly increase the restriction.

    Here's an example. Our system is set for 1600 CFM. We have a 20x25 Aprilaire cabinet with currently the media from the 2210 installed.

    I found it rather disgustingly dirty last year but before changing it, took a digital manometer to the system to check restriction. Techs will understand this. I had a static pressure drop of .29" over the dirty media. A clean media was .23" so this dirty filter was able to hold all that crud and not kill my airflow.

    By comparison, I put a 20x25x1 pleated filter in place of the media. CLEAN, drop was .50" or over DOUBLE the restriction of the clean media. You get a little fine dust built up on a 1" pleated and you'll have the furnace shutting down on overheat or a heat pump compressor being protected by a head pressure switch.

    Moral of story, the 1" pleated filters are very restrictive clean and horribly restrictive dirty. The Aprilaire 213 media isn't very restrictive clean and hardly any more dirty plus the pickup is so much better on tiny particles. A 1" is typically MERV 7 vs the MERV 13 of the Aprilaire.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,668
    Quote Originally Posted by Potsyboy View Post
    Hello. I have a 1.5 story home in Long Island NY and am having a central air conditioning system put in. I'm getting the infinity system (condenser/AH/Thermostat). Ductwork is being added as I'm writing you and the installer has asked me if I want a media filter added instead of a filter grill. He is recommending a Aprilaire 2210. I have 2 small children, but no allergies and have a cat & dog. Are they really worth the added expense? Price is reasonable after reviewing some other estimates I received.
    Yes, I think they are. They are much better for the air flow, which can cause all kinds of problems if not correct.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,603
    I agree with others, the larger pleated filter such as the 2210 "air bear" style would be the way to go. We have a LOT of calls from folks using 1" filters and either using the restrictive pleated 1" or simply not changing them at all. The large media pleated will accept more abuse than a 1" and still work simply because the large amount of surface area.

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