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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10

    Electronic air filter question

    Just purchased a 10 year old home and discovered during the inspection that the air handler is new, but that there is a slot for an electronic air cleaner, but the slot is empty...meaning there is no electronic air cleaner/filter. There is a pleated filter in the ceiling leading to the air handler. Also the HVAC unit is a heat pump, if that matters. My question is whether I need to purchase an electronic filter, or is it okay to leave the space open and just use the pleated filter with a high MERV rating?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,699
    measure the cabinet from the air cleaner and see if you can get a 4" or 5" pleated filter to fit it.
    if you can put one there then remove the one from the filter grill.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10
    Not quite sure what you mean...the Filtrete filter I am currently using is a 20x30x1 MERV 12 in a drop down grate from the ceiling. I presume the air handler is above that with the open hole where there used to be an electronic filter. Are you suggesting removal of the filter I am using and just put a smaller one in the air handler?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,699
    the frame size may be smaller, probably 16 x 25 or 20 x 25 but at 4-5" thick it will give you more filter surface area and less resistance. also having the filter right at the unit will trap any dirt that gets into leaks in the return duct after the return grill.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10
    Thanks...are filters of that thickness readily available at a Home Depot or Lowe's?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    909
    Quote Originally Posted by Qballgreg View Post
    Thanks...are filters of that thickness readily available at a Home Depot or Lowe's?
    No. Must get through local dealer. If you have a 3 ton on that 20x30x1 filter, you will be calling a contractor to come fix your unit anyway.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,058
    Quote Originally Posted by Qballgreg View Post
    Thanks...are filters of that thickness readily available at a Home Depot or Lowe's?
    Yes in most locations.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10
    Why will I be calling a contractor?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10
    I just checked the unit and it is a 4 ton unit....so does that make a difference with the 20x30x1 filter?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    909
    Quote Originally Posted by Qballgreg View Post
    I just checked the unit and it is a 4 ton unit....so does that make a difference with the 20x30x1 filter?
    Big difference. 3 ton filter size. 4 ton unit - with a PLEATED filter = BIG PROBLEMS

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10
    Although I appreciate your reply, it does no one any good to say something is a BIG PROBLEM unless you have the expertise to explain WHY....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    909
    4 ton requires 800 sq inches of non pleated filter area. (If filter is 1" thick). You have 600. Not enough for 4 tons. Causes air flow restrictions which in turn causes premature wear and tear on all parts - electrical and mechanical. Causes abnormally high head pressure in heat and low suction pressure in cool. Also increases power usage.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    10
    Great info....so the obvious question is....what is the recommendation?

    The air handler has a Honeywell electronic air cleaner...would a pleated filter (20x25x4 1/2 MERV 12) in this unit be acceptable and does it relate to the issue of the 1" filter in the return air grate in the ceiling leading to the air handler?

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