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Electronic air-filters


Bain
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Is there any way to definitively determine whether an electronic air-filter is operating properly? I typically make certain the operational light is illuminated and listen for the snaps, crackles and pops. I recently checked out a filter that seemed dead, so I referred it out for assessment by an HVAC dude. But . . . the homeowner says there aren't any problems with the filter and refuses to have it checked.

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I, too, try to let my client know that the filters are excluded, Terence and Fritz. But . . . the things are five- or six-hundred dollar propositions and they represent yet one more reason for a client to get raw if he or she moves in and is told the filter hasn't worked for years by some yahoo. I'll try your method next time I run into an electronic filter, Fritz. Very clever, yet sublimely simple. Makes me wish I'd have thought of it already.

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Originally posted by Bain

But . . . the homeowner says there aren't any problems with the filter and refuses to have it checked.

The unit may be dead, but I guess more importantly, what does it matter what the homeowner says? Is he (or she) a qualified, reputable and licensed HVAC professional? (Just asking the question this way to make a point . . .hopefully)

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Hi,

I see 'em all the time and always remove both pre-filters and collector plate assemblies and explain to the client how to properly open, disassemble, clean and reassemble the things. Then I'll fire up the system and, since they they typically don't come on until the air handler kicks in, wait for the unit to heat up to operating temp. Then I'll walk back and give the return air duct on the intake side of the filter a wack with my hand.

If it's working, there's absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind because that smack dislodges a bunch of stuff that the filter immediately starts grabbing and the snapping can last for several minutes. If I don't hear any snapping, I'll typically recommend that they get the system professionally cleaned and the electronic air cleaner checked out by a reputable HVAC tech.

After that I'm done. I don't particularly care what happens between the seller and the buyer at that point. It's none of my business and if an owner said that he didn't want to fix something I'd just shrug and walk away. I'm not their mother. I can't make 'em do anything and I don't see my role as having to stand there and argue with anyone about my findings.

Works for me.

OT - OF!!!

M.

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BTW, Honeywell makes a nice replacement filter for these. It's a deep pleated filter, same as in their SpaceGuard. You can pull the guts out of the electronic filter and slide the SpaceGuard in it's place (for most models, Honeywell wanted to make it simple to swap out). No more snap-crackle-pop and they do a great job at keeping dust and allergens down.

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