HVAC filter access is crucially important.
Why would any HVAC installation - gas, heat pump, hydronic, you name it - not provide full and complete access to be able to easily and efficiently slip the air filter in and out?
Any installer who does not think to provide such access either doesn't understand or doesn't care.
EITHER WAY, THE "INSTALLER"
SHOULD NOT BE INSTALLING HVAC EQUIPMENT!
Looking straight on at this unit it is obvious that the filter cannot be easily installed in or out.
And why not?
There is plenty of room in front of the unit to get to it and do what needs to be done.
The filter is good sized so a lot of space needs to be present in front of the unit.
But look at how this filter cannot be moved.
The tubing for the system is directly in front of its path.
What to do?
Just bend the filter, get it in there, and hope it unbends enough to be able to stay in place!
Looking at a close-up crop of the area in the red circle it is clear that this filter cannot filter properly!
Air, and dust, gets around the bent area.
The filter is only as effective as the percentage of air that it filters.
If it does not properly cover the opening, or if the slot in front is not sealed, air gets drawn around it and not through it.
Around the filter - no filtration!
Through the filter - filtration!
Seems simple to me.
Which filter should you use? There are two philosophies. You can choose the real cheap ones to let more air flow, or the more restrictive ones that filter the air more?
I treated that subject years ago in this post.
My recommendation: access is access. No access is no access. Easy peasy. Any questions?
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560