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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Posts
    2,866
    big game james, your words run together. we respect what you have to add to this thread but ... try useing no big caps. i think you'll read your own stuff easier.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    BAKERSFIELD CA.
    Posts
    78
    APPLTECH1 As you can see by the amount of posts ive got im kinda new to this game i just found out abvout this sight and kinda think its cool so thanks for the constructive info

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    35
    Thanks dash.

    I guess you are thinking one return opening for the whole system when you wrote "two filters is usually a very bad idea".

    My home has 5 return grills of 3 different sizes. I hope a thin filter at the return isn't too restrictive, since the air flow at each return is a fraction of the whole. There maybe enough margin in my system to handle my thin filter.

    I am even considering the idea of crafting a very simple return grill allow a thin filter. An option of having a filter at the return shouldn’t be a bad thing. Even if there isn’t any margin in the required air flow for the equipment, an option is better than no option. It may not be innovative, as long as duct cleaning exists, there should be a place for prevention.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    I see your point,but the extra filters at the grille may reduce airflow enough to damage the equipment.I'd have a Pro verify the air flow with those extra filters to be safe.


    You could post the filter sizes and types,as wellas the model numbers of the equipment to get a better idea .

    [Edited by dash on 11-25-2005 at 04:22 PM]

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    35
    The moment I found this site I knew it is a good one with good people. I’ve been telling you guys the old story. The house is sold. I am divorced now. As a consequence, I have time. I am living in a condo now and continue the habit of placing a filter behind the return grill. My condo has only two returns, one lower level and one upper. Although the sizes of return grill are different, the duct work is the flexible kind and the same diameter circle. I live in Maryland. Most house here use heat pump. My unit (I don’t have the correct name for it) is brand York. It is installed upside down. Or, the sticker is upside down. It is hard to read. Which number is the important one? It seems to be 1/3 HP. Since crafting the filters for the return grill is no fun at all and removing/putting back the typical grills isn’t easy, I’ve been considering the idea of crafting a very simple return grill allowing a thin filter.

    A very simple return grill allowing a thin filter would give us an option of filtering the air flow into a duct work. It may add 50 or 100 at the most to the cost of your home. Since one can use it without a filter, an option of having a filter at the return shouldn’t be a bad thing. We all know there is a small industry out there cleaning dirty ducts and a few people make a living doing that. I believe there should be a place for a simple return grill holds a thin filter. I don’t have a design good enough to manufacture yet. I am working on it. When I do, I will try to sell it to the new construction first. There are also hospitals, luxury office building and hotels, especially the new constructions.

    Since EPA doesn’t recommend duct cleaning which could be considered as a cure for a dirty duct work, why not a prevention? A once of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. Right?

  6. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Filter grilles that hold 1" to as much as a 4' thick filter are readily available,and commonly used (in 1" version),in many areas.But not with another filter at the indoor unit.

    Check here, http://www.hartandcooley.com/grd/all_grd.htm

    [Edited by dash on 11-25-2005 at 05:28 PM]

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    35
    Yes, the ones with 1’’ filter are common. I’ve seen it in Home Depot and Lowe’s. It is usually used when there is only one return opening in the system.

    In my very limited survey, I haven’t seen it in the homes with multiple return openings in my area. I’ve thought about it for a long time that why it isn’t used all over the house for all the return openings. I also asked many people about that. I guess the reason could be that 1’’ filter is usually used to handle the whole air flow for the unit. In the homes with multiple return openings, each opening only handles a fraction of the entire air flow and do not need the filters of 1’’ thick. Also, the return grill with 1’’ filter itself is at least 1’’ thick. It is difficult to install. It also looks bulky.

    I am trying to come up something “flat” over the return opening (so it just as easy to install – a few screws as the traditional grill without a filter) and have the traditional plain look of a common gill without a filter.

    I appreciate your thoughts very much and love our discussion.

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On Tour or Central FL or Michigan
    Posts
    49
    I've found thin filters meant to go in small floor grills before. The package clearly stated that they should not be used in more than a couple of floor grills in the system since they would interfere with the proper functioning of the system. (I only used them because I was sharing a house with smokers -I don't smoke- and I was trying to protect myself as much as I could. I only used them on the supply to my own room.)

    I suppose the reasons to avoid such filters in a multiple return system include,
    1-multiple filters to change instead of just one
    2-need to balance airflow (if returns are of varrying sizes this may be tricky)
    3-If it is possible to have a filter at the main unit and add filters at the returns, many people could damage their equipment by restricting the airflow too much.

    filters may help keep ductwork a bit cleaner but filters can't block everything.

    I'm guessing here but I expect duct cleaning is not highly recomended because it probably only serves to stir up more dust than it removes. Then if they add any sort of chemicals to deal with the smells they stir up, those are usually worse than the problems they are trying to cover.

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Originally posted by dz8
    Yes, the ones with 1’’ filter are common. I’ve seen it in Home Depot and Lowe’s. It is usually used when there is only one return opening in the system.

    In my very limited survey, I haven’t seen it in the homes with multiple return openings in my area. I’ve thought about it for a long time that why it isn’t used all over the house for all the return openings. I also asked many people about that. I guess the reason could be that 1’’ filter is usually used to handle the whole air flow for the unit. In the homes with multiple return openings, each opening only handles a fraction of the entire air flow and do not need the filters of 1’’ thick. Also, the return grill with 1’’ filter itself is at least 1’’ thick. It is difficult to install. It also looks bulky.

    I am trying to come up something “flat” over the return opening (so it just as easy to install – a few screws as the traditional grill without a filter) and have the traditional plain look of a common gill without a filter.

    I appreciate your thoughts very much and love our discussion.

    1" or greater return grille tilt out ,no screws involved,it's that simple.


    It just varies around the country with what's common in one area versus another.

  10. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    35
    Dash,

    I haven’t seen any “1" or greater return grille tilt out, no screws involved”. Would you please give me a place to look it up?

    I just find out Hope Depot in my area (3 of them) no longer sell return grill with filter. Lowe’s have the kind uses 1" filter.

    It could be true that “It just varies around the country with what's common in one area versus another.” I’ll start my work in Maryland.

    Tclynx,

    Thank you very much for your thoughts. I understand that duct dusting cleaning as well as keeping duct clean is mostly psychological, at least it is for me. Accumulated dust is nothing more than dead dust in most cases. Most things we can live without. Since duct cleaning exists, people have the need of a cleaner duct. We could either let it gets dirty and clean it or prevent it from getting dirty. Prevention is much better than the cure. Duct cleaning isn’t even close to a cure.

    The reasons you listed are all valid.

    1-multiple filters to change instead of just one.

    I guess it is just the price to pay to keep the duct work clean. A HVAC system is like a breathing elephant in our home. The duct work is the long trunk, much longer and complicated than the real thing. I guess to keep the nose clean we’d need a mask over it. Since you are building a brand new home, starting off clean and keep it clean isn't a horrible idea.

    2-need to balance airflow (if returns are of varying sizes this may be tricky).

    All for the purpose of comfort anyways, it’d be the best if we have a system per room. Dirty duct or the accumulation of dust in the duct would also slow down the air flow and disturb the delicate, beloved balance. You could have just one system for the whole house or multiple systems. Sizes and the distances of the returns to the unit all contribute to the balance of the airflow. Most duct work tunnels are either those flexible tubes or utilizing the space between the studs behind the dry wall. I truly wonder the amount of thoughts and energy went into balancing our household air flow.

    3-If it is possible to have a filter at the main unit and add filters at the returns many people could damage their equipment by restricting the airflow too much.

    All engineering systems have margins. A filter at the return may very well be the last straw breaks the camel’s back. The filter at the unit handles the entire air flow. The ones at the returns handle a fraction of it. With filters at the return, the job of the one at the unit is a bit lighter than without since the air is a bit cleaner after the filters at the return. I guess there is a conservation of dust filtering here. The fact is that, with or without a filter at the return, the total dust passing through the system is the same. The difference is the location the dust being filtered. With filters at the return, some of the dust is blocked before entering the duct work. Without a filter at the return, all the dust blocking is done at the unit, and, of course, some of the dust left in the return duct work to accumulate (which we MUST have???).

    I agree with you about duct cleaning when there is only dead dust in it.

    I just don’t believe the duct work is untouchable. We must live with a dirty duct work - an elephant with a dirty nose. A dusty duct work wouldn’t perform exactly the same as a brand new or clean one, no matter how well the air flow is initially balanced.

    Balancing the air flow and damaging the equipment is a matter of physics or engineering. In terms of the physics of air flow and dust, the filters take care of dust rather well. After several or ten years, without filters at return your duct work will collect some dust and the air flow balance will change a bit. If I were you building a brand new home, I’d rather have the filters at the return and have a clean duct work to show to the next owner.

    People are paying more and more attention to the indoor air quality now. Since duct cleaning has a market, I believe the filter at the return should have a market also. You are building a new house. Looking forward a bit further and having a few more options wouldn’t hurt you.

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    35
    Dash,

    I think you misunderstood my post.

    I was talking about easy installation when I wrote “a few screws”. The return grill WITH filter tilt out you mentioned doesn’t just sit there, right? It also has to be installed or fastened on to the wall, right?

    The typical return grill with 1’’ filter on the market is at least 1’’ thick. It is difficult to install, since it sit behind the surface of the wall one inch deep. You have to prep a one inch deep opening in the wall to have it sink into, right?

    When I wrote “I am trying to come up something “flat” over the return opening (so it just as easy to install – a few screws as the traditional grill without a filter) and have the traditional plain look of a common gill without a filter.” by “flat”, I was trying to say that my thing would be on the surface of the wall or not going into or below the surface of wall at all, just like the traditional grill without a filter.

    You see, the traditional grill without a filter is nothing more than a piece of sheet metal with many horizontal cuts. It rests on the surface of the wall. In other words, it isn’t going into the wall one inch deep like the typical grills with 1” filter do. The thing I am trying to make would look like the traditional grill without a filter and install like the traditional grill without a filter. My thing would rest over the surface of the wall and NOT into the surface of the wall AND with the capability of taking in a thin air filter.

    I hope it is clear enough now. Rocket science can’t be more complicated than this.

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    On Tour or Central FL or Michigan
    Posts
    49
    What type of filter are you wanting to use in this flat grill?

    I would fear that a thin sheet type material would either clog too quickly or not be effective at keeping dust out of the ducts.

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    35
    Just the kinds I can buy from Home Depot and do a little craft work to make something fit, since that is all we've got. Maybe, ideally, different kind of filter is needed for the different locations - return and the main unit. That would too much for this small problem.

    About restricting air flow, my guess is that the restriction two clean filters – one at the main unit together with a few at the return grill is probably lie somewhere between a clean one and the unit and by the time it becomes dirty and must be replaced.

    It seems to my limited knowledge about air filters that household dust is probably the easiest thing to block, since it is bigger than the other stuff.

    I use the work of “thin” is specifically for the ones I crafted to fit the tiny space between the regular return grill and the wall or not pleated, since prep a space for those 1” filters isn’t easy. The fact I found out is that not only prepping 1” deep space isn’t easy, but also even more difficult is that making a reasonable transition from that 1” deep space to the duct work. Actually, the craft work I did is nothing more than cutting a piece of filter material out of those 1” pleated filters, flatten it out and smooth the edges a little bit. Yes, they are less effective than their parents – 1” pleated filter. Since these filters only handle a fraction of entire air flow (see the next paragraph) which the filter at the unit must handle, they don’t need to be as effective. Some protection is still better than no protection.

    As to your concern of clogging too quickly, I think that the amount of “dust” passing through your system – from return grill to supply grill is pretty much a constant, under normal living condition of course. These dust either caught at two places – first at the return grill (if one has a filter there) and second at the main unit (pretty must all of us have a filter there) OR one place at the unit (some left in the return grill in this case). I guess common sense tells us that once the dust started to accumulate in the return duct work and form a rough surface, the accumulation of dust will only accelerate. My last house has 5 return grills. The condo I am living in has 2. Roughly speaking, in my old house, there are about 1/5 of the total air flow at each return grill while about 1/2 in my condo. Therefore, the job for the filters at the return grill is less than the one at the main unit which filters the entire air flow. Since I do believe that the total amount of “dust” passing through your system stays the same, I don’t think the rate of clogging would change significantly. Yes, some the duct (would have been left in the return duct without a filter at the return grill) got caught at the entrance now, more dust caught and clogging quicker is a good thing. But, of course, since the return grills are in plain sight in most homes or at least visible, one would notice a dirty filter sooner than think about checking the filter at the main unit which is usually in the basement, and probably replace them quicker.

    I am serious about making the minimal changes to the traditional return grill to allow the option of taking a filter and help a few people do need a cleaner duct work for health reasons as well as those for psychological reasons. Form the business or marketing point of view, I am try to compliment the duct cleaning industry. I totally agree with your thoughts on duct cleaning. I think those who just had their duct cleaned or building a brand new house should be interested in keeping it clean.

    Thank you very much for all your thoughts.

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