Electrostatic Air Filters & Cleaning Tips
Electrostatic Air Filters
Carbon Monoxide Filters & Cleaning Tips
Do you buy things mail order like I do? If so, you have undoubtedly battled the sticky peanuts as I have. You know, those plastic foam doo-dads that look like peanuts? As soon as you stick your hands in the box to fish out what you bought they are all over you. They even stick to the thing you bought.
The plastic that is used to make those peanuts has the same attributes as the plastic that is used in the fantastic tribo-electric air filters. These different plastics maintain a static charge when they are just sitting there minding their own business! If you rub them with anything - including air - it creates friction. This friction increases the static charge.
In the case of the peanuts, they jump onto you or anything else. In the case of dust flowing through your duct system, the dust is attracted to the plastic webbing in the filters. It is an absolutely fantastic and useful attribute - well, I mean for the filters, not the darn shipping peanuts!
Common sense will tell you that a clogged filter of any type will reduce flow. When it comes to furnaces and air conditioners, reduced flow can cost you money and it can directly affect the performance of the equipment. In the case of air conditioners, a clogged or dirty filter is often the reason why your outdoor unit freezes up. The refrigerant in the tubing lines is supposed to come back to the outdoor unit rather warm. A dirty filter means reduced air flow past the interior refrigeration coil and as such, not enough air flows past the interior coil to make the heat transfer! The outdoor coil gets super cooled and the humidity in the air begins to freeze on the coil!
What's to learn from this? Heating and cooling engineers can measure the flow of air past the interior coil and heat exchanger. As the flow is reduced it can exert pressure on a column of water. When the reduced flow creates enough pressure to raise the column of water one half inch (.5), it can begin to cause problems and reduced efficiency.
The ductwork, grill and register covers alone with no filter in place create enough resistance within the furnace system to raise the water column .2 inch. If you add a filter that is super fantastic or what ever, but has an initial resistance with NO dirt in it of .3 inch, then you are already in trouble. You want a high quality filter that has the least or very low initial resistance. The lower the initial resistance of the filter, the greater the dirt and dust load it can handle before it reaches the .5 resistance level.
This is why you always hear people telling you to change your furnace filters on a regular basis. They are trying to keep the resistance level down in the duct system.
Carbon Monoxide Filters
Some people - like my in-laws - still don't have smoke detectors in their houses. Many more people do not have carbon monoxide filters in their homes. It is nuts! These devices save lives BIG TIME. Just stop by any fire house and talk with a fire fighter. He or she will convince you in a flash. Carbon monoxide filters are really important since the gas is odorless and colorless. It can be present in a house and you don't have a clue. When you start to get poisoned by it, you simply feel tired and like you have the flu. Some people go to bed and never wake up - you know, the BIG sleep!
One of the electrostatic filter makers has a filter that contains a built-in carbon monoxide detector. It snaps in and out when you clean it. I feel that it is an excellent backup detector. If it senses carbon monoxide, it alerts everyone in the house since the alarm travels through the ductwork! I have this type in my own home and use it in conjunction with other carbon monoxide detectors in different parts of the house.
Cleaning the Filters
It couldn't be easier! You remove them from the slot in the ductwork, take them outside and hose them down. Simply follow the instructions included with the filter. Always use plenty of rinse water if you use soap. A residual soap film will inhibit the static properties!