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It's Important To Treat Both Sides Of The Furnace Filter Issue

The furnace filter (why don't we call it the AC filter?) is a very important part of the HVAC system!  Don't minimize its importance!  And it's important to treat both sides of the furnace filter issue.

The filter does not really filter the air in the house.  Its intention is to filter the air before it gets to the furnace to keep it, and all the associated mechanisms, like the blower, clean.

In this house, just to the right of the unit, is one of the two return-air grills in the house. 

It was very clean!  Often they are caked with dust.

The air is drawn in through this return, mixed with the air from the upper-level return, and filtered before it gets to the unit.

How often once a month should you replace or clean your filter?

That's right, once a month!

So when I opened the cabinet to view the mechanism, imagine my wonder when I saw this.

It appeared to be another return!

Taking off this unfiltered cover I saw that it IS another return!

Why someone would want a return on THIS, THE OPPOSITE SIDE of the intended air filter?

I don't know because, well, because it sure would make the unit dusty!  Really, really dusty!

You have to know that if the intention here was to totally trash this unit over time, this installation was primo!

Good thing they went and spent the money to get one of the more expensive filters!

And you have to know, it is impressive to see an expensive furnace filter evenly coated on both sides!

That makes it doubly worth the money!

Nothing better.

Well, that's all.

Creativity and originality should be rewarded.

I'm not sure with what, in this case, but rewarded nonetheless!

And to think this filter was replaced just yesterday!

OK, that may have been a tease.

My recommendation:  people do things for reasons.  There must have been an intention attached to this installation.  Or it may simply be that the "installer" just didn't understand what he was doing.  Who knows, do you think that might be it?

But either way, get an inspection!  You never know what you might see.  Or, as in this case, not be able to see...

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • August 20 2011 06:09AM

Comments

Good morning, Jay. This is an oldie but goodie. Don't see the big blower wheels like this too often...

Posted by Michael Thornton, Nashville Area - Photography & Videography (RadnorLake Video) about 9 years ago

I learn something from you everyday.  Sometimes it's new technical knowledge; other times it's the stupidity of those around us.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 9 years ago

Ain't that gorgeous Michael?  The dust pattern is classic too.

Debbie - either way you look at that one, this is a great demonstration of both!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Jay * I am amazed when taking over a DIY landlord property that they EXPECT the tenant to change or CLEAN the AC filter? 

I have my HVAC firm service equipment 2X annually and they change AND I have my service person check them when they are in the property....

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 9 years ago

Good morning, Jay....it's unbelievable.....people fail to service what they own.....it will only lead to more expense later.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired ) about 9 years ago

And the messes I bet they find too Wallace!

Barbara - that little unit was trashed.  It was full of rust, cracked and the flue corroded!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Wow Jay, this has to go in the "what were they thinking" file, a rather large one with your experience and observations.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Jay, Time and again we see stuff like this.  So many homeowners aren't technically inclined, nor are they inclined to pay someone who is.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) about 9 years ago

Jay, and of course there should not be a return to the furnace within 10 feet of the burner anyway.  Wacky.

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) about 9 years ago

At least they had filters in both positions.  I have seen cases where they could not find the right sized filter and figured the smaller one, or just one of two would be sufficient. 

Posted by Steven Cook (No Longer Processing Mortgages.) about 9 years ago

Chris - that file would be encyclopedic!

Bliz - why pay to screw something up?  If you want something done right, um, wrong, you have to do it yourself.

That's what I say on newer homes, Charlie.  But this house is 1968 vintage and in those days they didn't pay attention.  As configured, there would be no where else to put a return, except beside this unit.  It's high on the wall though.

Steven - the screen you are looking at in the first photo is not a filter!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

Sounds a little crazy to me Jay. Good catch and thanks for the identifying photos.

Posted by Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366, General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage (Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366) about 9 years ago

Hi Jay, like the filters "out of sight out of mind".

Too many home owners just dn't get it when it comes to changing the filters.

Best, Clint mcKie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 9 years ago

Or to let air blow in onto both sides Clint!  How cool is that!?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

As always... what were they thinking?

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 9 years ago

More air, more air.

I think they wanted more air.

I'll bet they read something about how systems are more efficient with better air flow.  This was their solution.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

A great inspector like Jay is worth their fee just for the HVAC inspection alone. You can bet that more often than not, there will be problems.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) about 9 years ago

Thanks David, but this one was pretty easy to find!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 9 years ago

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