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HVAC Air Filter Access Is Crucially Important

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?

No problem!

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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 14 commentsJay Markanich • December 18 2015 03:02AM

Comments

Good morning Jay,

I am surprised there is none of your duct tape covering the opening to help the filtration!

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 3 years ago

And with that, please, please, colors!  Right, Raymond?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. Someone was definitely not thinking this one through! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) over 3 years ago

Yes, I guess it does seem kind of simple.  A small investment will save a lot of money.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) over 3 years ago

We see no think too much, Wayne.  Sad state.

Wow Debbie - the unit was very dusty, which hugely affects efficiency.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay Markanich Ironically, this is another one of my many pet peeves and one I check out on behalf of my buyers when visiting a home. Next step is to inspect how clean the filter is for an indication of proper maintenance.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (HomeSmart Realty West & Geneva Financial, Llc.) over 3 years ago

The proper maintenance of the HCA System and the filters will help the run more efficiently and last longer 

Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) over 3 years ago

That is a good practice S&N.  I check too!

All true Joe!  Get it in and get it out.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

Jay Markanich The air filter is just so under-appreciated. Really should be much higher on people list of monthly duties.

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

You are so right Don.  I would say probably 80% of filters I see are too dirty.  When I ask how often once a month a filter should be replaced many answer back with, "Every fall?  (or quarter, or year)"  Ummm....

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

This is very good information for home owners. Thanks for sharing your experience and your photographs.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 3 years ago

Thanks for stopping in Roy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

When you have to force fit something, that's a clear indicator that it Ain't Right  Jay Markanich 

Posted by DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 ), Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia (American National Bank & Trust) over 3 years ago

My mother used to say that about puzzles Deanna!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 3 years ago

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