Okay to Install Filter on Return?

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Old 11-10-14, 04:15 AM
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Okay to Install Filter on Return?

The filter for my HVAC system is located in the air handler and as such the return vent gets extremely dusty and needs to be cleaned a couple times per year. I am curious if it would be okay to install a fiberglass filter inside each return vent in order to keep the return duct clean. There are three 14x14 return vents. If doing so would be too restrictive, then perhaps replacing the pleated filter in the air handler with a fiberglass filter would even things out, or should I remove it altogether?
 
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Old 11-10-14, 04:36 AM
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The filter is located on air handler is correct but it should be on the return air plenum as it enters the furnace. Putting filters on the return ducts will only retard air flow. Pleated filters will provide better filtering as opposed to the flimsy fiberglass that only catch large particulate such as dog and cat hair.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 06:18 AM
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Right, I understand that. My question is whether or not it is okay to put a fiberglass filter on each of the three returns to keep the return plenum from getting caked with dust. Surely it would cut down on the amount of dust that collects in there. There were only two return vents when the house was built (one in the hallway upstairs and one directly below on the first floor living room). I added another in the finished basement so there is actually additional air flow now, so adding filters to each return seems like it would be fine. In other words, the amount of return air gained from the additional vent would offset the restrictiveness of adding filters. I would keep the pleated filter in the air handler and add a fiber filter to each return. If it makes any difference, the return is a 25-foot vertical plenum that runs from the top floor straight down to the basement and into the air handler with a 14x14 return vent on each level.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 07:13 AM
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Without calculations by qualified HVAC technicians I don't think you can determine what affect it will have. But, try placing the filters over the cold air return vents in each room as a trial for about a week or two and then see if you feel any difference in heat or air flow. Also you'll see if you're picking up any debris as it enters the cold air return. I suspect you won't see any difference in air flow, heat or debris. Keep us posted.
 

Last edited by Norm201; 11-10-14 at 08:47 AM.
  #5  
Old 11-10-14, 10:14 AM
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Will do.

BTW, can someone recommend an inexpensive brush to clean the dust from inside my return plenum? I just got a ridiculous estimate of $450 for a 15-minute job.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 10:25 AM
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I just use the brush attachment on my wife's vac ..... when she ain't looking
 
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Old 11-10-14, 10:34 AM
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Think I'll need something a little larger than that. I was thinking something the size of a chimney sweep brush with at least a 10ft length.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 11:27 AM
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I think one of the dryer vent brushes may work? Linteater is one name. Of course you'll have to move it side to side and all around and you'll need some extension rods.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 01:15 PM
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$450 for a HVAC system cleaning is very good. It should take two guys around six hours for an average home.
 
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Old 11-10-14, 01:53 PM
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$450 for a HVAC system cleaning is very good. It should take two guys around six hours for an average home.
I specified the return plenum only, and they said they charge a "flat rate" of $450. BS if you ask me. Gonna do it myself.
 
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