The Great Furnace Filter Conspiracy

“Don’t Believe the Hype”

First of all, I want to give props/a shout out to Public Enemy for the subtitle. Now I just need Terminator X to mix up some funky fresh beats for my blog and Flavor Flav to hype my peeps before they read my posts. Man , I am sooo not cool! Enough of this and on to the important stuff; furnace filters! I know what most people are going to think. “Furnace filters are more important than talking about the music that shaped our upbringing?!?!” Yes and no, it may not be as fun but it can save you (immediately too!) some cold hard cash which you can spend on a big clock to hand around your neck or a solid gold grill for your front teeth.
Now, when you go to ANY store they obviously want you to spend as much money as they can wring out of you. Shocking, I know. If you go to the grocery store they put the staples like milk and eggs in the furthest reaches of the store so you have to walk by all the crap and impulse buys to get them. Hey, it works on me sometimes too. I’m good for an impulse buy or some knick-knack that just might come in handy in the kitchen but I digress. The point that I’m belaboring here is that there is a big marketing plan at work in retail. Again, shocking! This leads me to furnace filters and their placement at the big box home improvement stores. Now first of all, when you see the ads on tv they will lead you to believe that your air could be spic and span if you just bought their super duper 3M special pleated filter which is the best thing since sliced bread. Sounds great, right? No more allergies, dust all collected nice and neat. I will be taller, richer, tanner……..ok, they don’t say that. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. The problem is that residential furnaces (i.e. furnaces in a home and not offices or industrial buildings) are not designed to “scrub” the air. In other words, their job is not to clean the air, just to distribute hot or cool air around the house. The air return simply isn’t moving a big enough volume of air to do this and most of us only have one air return for the whole house anywho. What about the air with allergens and dust up in the bedroom the furthest away from said air return? What about in a room where the door is shut most of the time? Do you see what I’m gettin’ at? If it did move that much air we wouldn’t have to dust in our homes and let me tell you, I’ve got some dust in my casa! This is the first issue with the pleated filter. The second issue is that the pleated filters are TOO efficient at blocking the stuff which does happen into the return air duct and they (the filters) restrict the air flow to your furnace which means less air pumping out at your hot/cool air ducts to warm/cool your domicile. Bummer. The actual and intended purpose of the furnace filter is just to keep stuff out of the furnace blower motor.
To make a long story short (too late), let’s bring this all together. Said pleated filters are a waste of $$. When you go into the home improvement store looking for filters, the expensive (VERY) are all shelved at eye level and the cheaper 5 packs of filters are on the bottom and the most difficult to get to. Bet you thought I couldn’t tie this all together, huh. So my advice is this in the whole big furnace filter conspiracy? Buy the cheap 5 or 6 in a pack ones and switch them out monthly during HVAC use and get your furnace serviced every year or two. BTW, you are checking your filters and replacing them often? Right? Right!?!? The tech should clean things out in there to keep your blower working as efficiently as possible. Then take all that $$ you saved when you switched to the proper and inexpensive filters and buy yourself something pretty (or you can get me a 6 pack of Goose Island IPA as a thank-you for the enlightenment:) ).

That’s it for now and as always, thanks for reading,

That Home Inspector Guy

About Travis "That Home Inspector Guy" Moyer

I am a certified home inspector, rehabber, landlord, carpenter, handyman and generally inquisitive person who wants to know how everything works. I love to educate other DIY homeowners and potential homeowners about projects that they may be interested in.

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