Advice On Air Filtration Systems
This is the first of what will be several questions over the next few days re: the purchase of a replacement furnace/heat pump/air filtration system. Rather than bog down a thread with multiple questions in one post, I will try to go step by step so I can keep the information straight. :-))
Our current system uses a standard 1" 16x25 filter. It simply slides into an unsealed slot, so a lot of air leaks by the filter; the filter is held "tight" by the air flow through it...obviously not working very well. I want/need to have much better filtration, but am not sure how much is enough/how much is overkill and hype. Whatever furnace/heat pump combination I end up with, there will be more than enough cfm generated to handle any air cleaner I end up with.
My wife has some allergies, none of which, according to her dermatologist, are caused by my basement woodworking shop. I don't believe this totally, since her allergies seem to worsen about the time I start working to get ready for my craft show fall season. As such, any new system will be sealed, theoretically, to any return air in the basement (remember, our current system is sucking dusty air by the filter all the time). Again, in theory, the dust in the basement will not be sucked in by the new system - only the return air from upstairs will be filtered.
I don't mind maintaining a filter by vacuuming and/or washing, and I don't mind (so much) replacing filters as needed. What I do mind is buying more than I really need, or buying "snake oil" when I don't know it.
With the variable speed blower furnace I will likely be buying, I plan to run the blower 24/7 to have 24 hour filtration.
At the "top of the line," I am l looking at these, all of which are touted by their manufacturers to the the absolute best:
Trane Clean Effects
Bryant Perfect Air/Carrier Infinity
Lennox Pure Air
One step down in cost/complexity, I am looking at these:
Trane 5" Perfect Fit Media Filter (same case as Clean Effects, just media only)
Bryant Preferred EZ Flex/Carrier Performance EZ Flex - either 10 or 16 MERV
Lennox EZ Flex
Question 1 - In actual everyday performance, not in mfg. specs, will I notice a difference in performance between the first and most expensive category (Pure Air, etc.) and the "filter only" units in the less expensive category?
Question 2 - Within each type, which would you install or recommend for your own house under these conditions? Why?
Thanks so much for your help. I have been absolutely impressed with the tone and quality of the answers you folks provide here...information, not "---- has always been junk" like I have found on so many other sites.
Go with the Lennox.
Originally Posted by Joe Pack
Both Trane and Carrier/Bryant units are equipped with electronic air cleaners that produce ozone in normal operation. Indoor ozone is very likely worse for you than whatever particulates the air cleaners will remove.
Indoor air quality means fresh air (airchange every 3-5 hours), maintaining <50%, and air filtering (+Merv 11), right. Air filtering will have the least impact. Regards TB
Bear Rules: Keep our home <50% RH summer, controls mites/mold and very comfortable.
Provide 60-100 cfm of fresh air when occupied to purge indoor pollutants and keep window dry during cold weather. T-stat setup/setback +8 hrs. saves energy
Use +Merv 10 air filter. -Don't forget the "Golden Rule"
Of the units you have listed I would go with the Honeywell and use a MERV 11 filter. This will capture most of the allergen particles and all of the visible type dust from your woodworking.
You might also consider installing a 4" filter box that will fit a 4" commercial filter. (3 5/8" thick) You have the same advantages of longer life, low pressure drop and high efficiency filtration (use a MeRV 11) with a much lower replacement cost.
What exactly should I ask for?
Thanks for the tip on commercial filters. Exactly what should I ask my installer for if I go that route? Where would I likely find the 4" commercial filters? My installer? Big-Box stores?
I believe the EZ Filter Base is available at most supply houses. Most of their products will take a 4" filter.
Most big box retailers do not sell commercial 4" filters. But there are plenty of sources on the internet. A case of 6 should last you a couple of years.
Since you mentioned you have a woodshop you really need to make sure your shop area is completely sealed from the side of the basement where your furnace is and that you also have a dust collection system in your shop with a fresh air intake for you dust collector so your not sucking air from the rest of the house. Even the smallest dust collector say 600 CFM will suck alot of air from the rest of the house, but most experienced woodworkers as myself am will have a minimum of 1100 CFM Dust collector.
As for which air cleaner to get you did not list the Aprile Aire 5000 which is probably better than most of the other you did list and for less than half the cost and out performs the Trane, Infinity units. You can also get a 4" or 5" media filter installed in place of your current 1" media filter which will in most cases allow you to only have to change it once a year, but in your situation you may have to change yours 2 times a year due to the excessive dust from your shop area.
The Aprile Aire unit has a 5" media along with the EAC the unit is about 12" wide total and it's pretty low maintinece vs. the other makes and as far as Ozone goes, there more Ozone outside then a EAC will ever transmit in your home and some of them today are adjustable when it comes tothe amount of Ozone the EAC produces. IMO I would go with a Aprile Aire 5000 for your home it will give you the best bang for your buck and provide a better filtering so long as you run your fan either intermittely in the off season heating and 24/7 during the winter time will provide cleaner air then you currently have now.
ALL electronic air cleaners produce ozone. However, the EPA has set limits on how much ozone they are able to produce indoors.
Originally Posted by Cold Feet
I know that.
Originally Posted by phbsales
I also know the EPA-compliant EAC I have puts out enough ozone to cause me health problems. I may be atypically sensitive to ozone but I have cause enough to point out the potential problem to others.
Some EACS are capable of being "turned down",if ozone is an issue.
Originally Posted by Cold Feet
Actually, the EPA has not set a "safe" level of indoor ozone. The FDA has a 50ppb limit for medical devices. The CPSC has been considering adopting the 50ppb limit but has not officially done so.
It is very possible that ozone levels below 50ppb could be irritating to some individuals. I doubt very much that an EAC could be adjusted enough to produce ozone levels that would not be irritating to some people with respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD and still capture particles.
This article provides more details on the indoor ozone issue:
But the EPA has regulated appliances that produce ozone to less than 8ppb.
Originally Posted by breathe easy
To my knowledge the EPA has never regulated any indoor appliances. Their position has been that their regulatory authority only applies to outdoor air.
Please provide references for this statement.