Changing Furnace Filters

By Josh Kattenberg

Changing furnace filters: “Isn’t the tenant supposed to do that? After all, the lease says they are responsible for changing the filters.” The real questions is not “Whose responsibility is it to change the furnace filter?” Rather the question is, “How are you, the property owner, going to protect the most expensive piece of mechanical equipment in your property?”

What can happen when filters are not changed regularly?
1)    Once a filter is full, the fan has to work harder to pull air through the filter. This raises the electrical bill and causes more wear and tear on the fan shortening the life of the fan.
2)    Most furnaces in Sioux Falls have an A-coil above the heat exchanger. The A-coil is the inside part of the A/C system. The A-coil will collect condensation when humid air passes over the coil. If the air has been pushed through a dirty filter, or worse, no filter at all, the dust will collect on the A-coil and clog it. Over time, the A-coil will become plugged and have to be taken apart and cleaned. Cleaning a dirty A-coil is much more expensive than changing furnace filters regularly.
3)    Most furnace filters have wire inside them to provide some rigidity. When a filter is not changed and becomes plugged, the fan may actually suck the filter inside the furnace.  This will cause damage to the fan and require replacement. In one furnace we found two filters. The first filter was sucked into the fan compartment. Some helpful person installed a second filter not realizing that the first filter was still in the furnace.
4)    Occasionally cleaning and inspecting the furnace is also a good idea. Inspecting the heat exchanger can reveal cracks that will allow carbon monoxide to enter the home. Cleaning is important to remove any dust or debris that can cause a fire.  Not long ago we started a furnace in preparation for the heating season. Sparks started flying out of the vents upstairs. Upon inspection we found plastic children’s toys that had worked their way down the heat vents and landed on top of the heat exchanger causing them to burn.
5)    Depending upon the make and age of the furnace, a plugged filter can cause the upper heat limit switch to trip which shuts the furnace down. Invariably this will happen after business hours when the sun goes done, the outside temperature drops, and HVAC companies charge double for an after hours service call. In addition, the land lord has to deal with the problem in the middle of the night.
6)    Clean filters also help clean the air which then benefits people with allergies.

Changing furnace filters regularly is the best preventative maintenance money you can spend. Quality filters should be changed four times a year. Do not use the cheap fiberglass filter that is only rated for thirty days. Instead, use the pleated filter that is rated for three months.  Some furnaces have very large filters that do not have to be changed as often, depending upon air quality, time of year, and living conditions.

At Real Property Management, we schedule filter changes so that they happen systematically.

By Josh Kattenberg

Changing furnace filters: “Isn’t the tenant supposed to do that? After all, the lease says they are responsible for changing the filters.” The real questions is not “Whose responsibility is it to change the furnace filter?” Rather the question is, “How are you, the property owner, going to protect the most expensive piece of mechanical equipment in your property?”

What can happen when filters are not changed regularly?

1)    Once a filter is full, the fan has to work harder to pull air through the filter. This raises the electrical bill and causes more wear and tear on the fan shortening the life of the fan.
2)    Most furnaces in Sioux Falls have an A-coil above the heat exchanger. The A-coil is the inside part of the A/C system. The A-coil will collect condensation when humid air passes over the coil. If the air has been pushed through a dirty filter, or worse, no filter at all, the dust will collect on the A-coil and clog it. Over time, the A-coil will become plugged and have to be taken apart and cleaned. Cleaning a dirty A-coil is much more expensive than changing furnace filters regularly.
3)    Most furnace filters have wire inside them to provide some rigidity. When a filter is not changed and becomes plugged, the fan may actually suck the filter inside the furnace.  This will cause damage to the fan and require replacement. In one furnace we found two filters. The first filter was sucked into the fan compartment. Some helpful person installed a second filter not realizing that the first filter was still in the furnace.
4)    Occasionally cleaning and inspecting the furnace is also a good idea. Inspecting the heat exchanger can reveal cracks that will allow carbon monoxide to enter the home. Cleaning is important to remove any dust or debris that can cause a fire.  Not long ago we started a furnace in preparation for the heating season. Sparks started flying out of the vents upstairs. Upon inspection we found plastic children’s toys that had worked their way down the heat vents and landed on top of the heat exchanger causing them to burn.
5)    Depending upon the make and age of the furnace, a plugged filter can cause the upper heat limit switch to trip which shuts the furnace down. Invariably this will happen after business hours when the sun goes done, the outside temperature drops, and HVAC companies charge double for an after hours service call. In addition, the land lord has to deal with the problem in the middle of the night.
6)    Clean filters also help clean the air which then benefits people with allergies.

Changing furnace filters regularly is the best preventative maintenance money you can spend. Quality filters should be changed four times a year. Do not use the cheap fiberglass filter that is only rated for thirty days. Instead, use the pleated filter that is rated for three months.  Some furnaces have very large filters that do not have to be changed as often, depending upon air quality, time of year, and living conditions.

At Real Property Management, we schedule filter changes so that they happen systematically. – See more at: http://expressrpm.com/changing-furnace-filters.html#sthash.h7n8FEAm.dpuf