Rheem Classic 90 Plus air filter not dirty

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Old 02-17-10, 11:04 AM
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Rheem Classic 90 Plus air filter not dirty

I had a Rheem Classic 90 Plus furnace installed last fall. I have checked the filter monthly and have yet to find so much as a speck of dust on it. I looked through the Rheem manual and found the only filter it indicates is located at the bottom of the unit and this is the filter I checked.

My wife and tenants have been noticing more dust in the house lately, which makes me think the fact that the filter isn't dirty is even stranger. I contacted Rheem, who was of no help, they just told me to call the contractor.

I called the contractor and asked if there was an intake filter or another filter somewhere else that I am missing and he seemed to indicate there wasn't but then at the end of the conversation was referring to the "inside filter" not being dirty if the intake filter wasn't. When I tried to get him to clarify, he said "the filter." I cannot imagine where an intake filter would be since there is only one access panel on the furnace itself and I see no other slots where a filter could be inserted outside of the unit. The contractor also recommended having my ductwork cleaned, but this doesn't answer my question about why my filter isn't dirty.

Is it possible there is only one filter or should there always be an intake filter somewhere as well?
 
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Old 02-17-10, 12:21 PM
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Is your furnace located in the basement or the main floor of the house?
 
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Old 02-17-10, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
Is your furnace located in the basement or the main floor of the house?
It is in the basement. The model is short with only two panels on it. The bottom one says "Filter Access Door." This is where the filter that is clean is located. It is at the bottom of the unit. The top panel just contains a lot of circuits and wires packed in pretty tightly, definitely nowhere to insert a filter in that panel.
 
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Old 02-17-10, 04:22 PM
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Only thing I can think of is you might have a central return somewhere in the house with a filter behind that. it would be square and big enough for a filter. or maybe u have a big hepa filter installed, it would be a big square box on the side of the furnace, thats all i can think of.
 
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Old 02-17-10, 04:31 PM
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How was your house during winters before, with the old furnace? In the winrter, in snow country anyway, you don't get the outside air dust like you do in the summer.

And you did not tear out all your carpet and put in hardwood floors did you? We have found in the rentals where we have done that, that there is a lot less dust in the filters, with the wood floors.

Can you feel suction at cold air returms in the house. If not sure, take a streamer of toilet paper and dangle it in front of it and see what it does. If there is good draw, that means the return is connected to the furnace, anyway.
 
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Old 02-17-10, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CivicLX98 View Post
It is in the basement. The model is short with only two panels on it. The bottom one says "Filter Access Door." This is where the filter that is clean is located. It is at the bottom of the unit. The top panel just contains a lot of circuits and wires packed in pretty tightly, definitely nowhere to insert a filter in that panel.

You probably have an "upflow" furnace, with the fan in the bottom compartment of the furnace blowing air up through the heat exchange and then into the warm air plenum for distribution through the vent system.

Such furnaces have one or more return air ducts emptying into the fan compartment to supply air for the fan to circulate. These CAN be at the bottom of the furnace as you seem to describe, but it's more common for the large return air duct to be in the side or back of the furnace.

So----

Where is that large return air duct located? Does the furnace sit on top of a sheet metal plenum thaqt directs the return air into the bottom of the furnace through the filter? If not, what you describe as a filter is just insulation to reduce noise, so it wouldn't be collecting dust.

If not, the return air should be coming in the side through the filter.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 05:57 AM
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filter

Another idea- is the filter the right size? I saw one where a smaller filter had been installed and it never got very dirty because most of the air went around and not through it!
Steve
 
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Old 02-18-10, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
How was your house during winters before, with the old furnace? In the winrter, in snow country anyway, you don't get the outside air dust like you do in the summer.

And you did not tear out all your carpet and put in hardwood floors did you? We have found in the rentals where we have done that, that there is a lot less dust in the filters, with the wood floors.

Can you feel suction at cold air returms in the house. If not sure, take a streamer of toilet paper and dangle it in front of it and see what it does. If there is good draw, that means the return is connected to the furnace, anyway.
Up until this winter we had oil heat with an extremely old furnace. There was no return connected to that unit and we had big time dust problems for the obvious reason that household dust could just enter into the ducts (the return just ended and was hanging out open). We upgraded to gas this winter and now the return is connected.

Our house is also two unit (my in-laws in the other unit insisted on carpet) but the main unit I live in only has carpet in 1 room out of 10.

The returns definitely work too but there is no main return unit.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SeattlePioneer View Post
You probably have an "upflow" furnace, with the fan in the bottom compartment of the furnace blowing air up through the heat exchange and then into the warm air plenum for distribution through the vent system.

Such furnaces have one or more return air ducts emptying into the fan compartment to supply air for the fan to circulate. These CAN be at the bottom of the furnace as you seem to describe, but it's more common for the large return air duct to be in the side or back of the furnace.

So----

Where is that large return air duct located? Does the furnace sit on top of a sheet metal plenum thaqt directs the return air into the bottom of the furnace through the filter? If not, what you describe as a filter is just insulation to reduce noise, so it wouldn't be collecting dust.

If not, the return air should be coming in the side through the filter.
The return air duct is at the back of the unit on the top. Here is a picture of the unit. http://globalimageserver.com/fetchDo...a-006ab41b4f1b
The filter is located at the bottom of the unit as shown. Yes, there are also pieces of insulation on the sides of the bottom but I didn't think those were filters. I found it strange to begin with that the filter is located where it is because how much air is flowing at the bottom and wouldn't the return air simply flow around/above it and back into the outflow ducts? But as I've stated before, there are only the two panels on the front, no side or rear access panels so I don't see how they would've put a filter anywhere else but it seems to me like there should be since the bottom of the furnace is not connected to any ductwork.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 11:54 AM
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Sorry, I can't follow your explanations.


You might try posting some pictures of your furnace installation.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 04:14 PM
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I can't get your pic to come up without getting a computer- freezing pop-up. But I have reread posts. And from what I gather, you have a filter in the bottom panel. That is fairly typical. And that is where the blower is. You obviously have a standard upflow furnace, since the furnace is in the basement. Those furnaces are built so air enters the bottom and goes upward through the furnace, out the top, into supply ducts and blows hot air into your rooms. The return air goes back to that bottom compartment to complete the necessary circular cycle. Air has to be drawn in down there in order for air to get pushed out the registers upstairs.

But you also say there is no ductwork connected to the bottom of the furnace? Is that right? So isn't there at least a big square open hole at the bottom of the furnace, where the air is being drawn right into the bottom of the furnace? There has to be. Otherwise where would the air come from to blow air through the furnace and out the registers in the house?
 
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Old 02-19-10, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
I can't get your pic to come up without getting a computer- freezing pop-up. But I have reread posts. And from what I gather, you have a filter in the bottom panel. That is fairly typical. And that is where the blower is. You obviously have a standard upflow furnace, since the furnace is in the basement. Those furnaces are built so air enters the bottom and goes upward through the furnace, out the top, into supply ducts and blows hot air into your rooms. The return air goes back to that bottom compartment to complete the necessary circular cycle. Air has to be drawn in down there in order for air to get pushed out the registers upstairs.

But you also say there is no ductwork connected to the bottom of the furnace? Is that right? So isn't there at least a big square open hole at the bottom of the furnace, where the air is being drawn right into the bottom of the furnace? There has to be. Otherwise where would the air come from to blow air through the furnace and out the registers in the house?

Here is a diagram I drew of where the duct work is connected to the furnace. I may have been unclear before when I said there is no duct at the bottom. As I drew in the diagram it is on the side of the bottom compartment, but not aligned in a way that the filter is in front of it.

 
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Old 02-19-10, 08:35 AM
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Put a filter in the fan compartment in front of the duct opening and it will start getting dirty and doing it's job.
 
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Old 02-20-10, 06:30 AM
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Ok, that filter laying on the bottom is doing nothing. lot of dealer don't use those..

There should be a slot in the duct left of the furnace. If you are not finding one, then I'd call the installing dealer to show you were it's at... If it turns out there is none, then ask them to check the A/C coil to make sure that didn't get plugged!
 
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Old 02-20-10, 12:32 PM
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But some furnaces have slotless ducts, because the filter slides in a channel inside the blower compartment (it would be IN the furnace where the duct is that you show), and is held in place (from being sucked into the blower) by a special springloaded wire that spans between the backside and frontside.
 
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Old 02-20-10, 05:39 PM
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Clean Filter

If the contractor left the installation manual as he should have, it should show how the filter is supposed to be installed. If it is more than you want to tackle, call the installer back & get them to do it as they should have in the first place.
 
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