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Old 01-14-2012, 02:56 PM   #1
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


Hi,

For the record, I don't know much about HVAC and heating/air flow etc. I'm hoping the knowlegdable community here can give me some advice.

I have an Electro-Air electronic air filter that is 20+ years old and I think it has stopped working. The model is SAS-10AS and when I flip the switch to ON, it doesn't light up, no sounds, nothing. Is it normal for these to just stop working?

If it has stopped working, what are my options?

Any advice will be appreciated! Cheers

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:17 PM   #2
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


Turn off the power to the air filter & push in the grounding button if you have one.
Are the main cells really dirty? If so clean them.
Pull the pre screens and the main cells out of it. Check if you have any broken or missing high tension lines. If you do, very carefully check if any of those pieces of wire are stuck between your collecter plates. Look to see if any of your collecter plates are touching each other or the frame.
Make sure that the prescreens are not bent and able to push against the collecter plates when reinstalled.
If your unit is composed of two main cells, try putting each one back in seperately just on it's own to see if the air cleaner will work.
Let us know what you find out.

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Old 01-14-2012, 03:43 PM   #3
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


I have never been a fan of EAC's.....they create ozone, a known irritant for people with breathing issues. If it has quit working it most likely has a bad power pack and these are very expensive to replace. Most of the 4 inch wide merv 10 filters will fit into most EAC cabinets. these can be bought at most Box stores for $25 dollars, and as long as your house is not a pig pen, they will last up to a year.you could be looking at up to $400 to $500 to repair your old EAC.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


Quote:
Originally Posted by how View Post
Turn off the power to the air filter & push in the grounding button if you have one.
Are the main cells really dirty? If so clean them.
Pull the pre screens and the main cells out of it. Check if you have any broken or missing high tension lines. If you do, very carefully check if any of those pieces of wire are stuck between your collecter plates. Look to see if any of your collecter plates are touching each other or the frame.
Make sure that the prescreens are not bent and able to push against the collecter plates when reinstalled.
If your unit is composed of two main cells, try putting each one back in seperately just on it's own to see if the air cleaner will work.
Let us know what you find out.
The cells don't seem to be overly dirty but I will clean them regardless. Is it safe to clean them in water?

Im not sure what high tension lines are or what they look like but the only thing in there are two little metal nubs at the top, that I guess are contact points for the cells and provides them electricity.

I pulled out the prescreen and tried each cell on its own and so far, one of them works on its own. It seems really finicky right now - I have to turn the switch on a couple times before the Performace Indicator light is turned on. If I put the second cell in, it doesn't work. Does the filter only turn on when the furnace intakes air? or does it work continuously?
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:16 PM   #5
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


Hey Harley
Many electronic air cleaners have a built in jumper on their board that can be snipped to reduce the ozone ( and drop some of it's effectiveness but still keep it above an allergy filter) if someone complains. Up here it is what the hospitals use in parrallel with UV units. There is nothing to match an electronic air cleaner for efficiency and unrestrained air flow but they can be a pain in the ass. They do require a careful touch when being cleaned and unless they are cleaned regularly they become useless (like any other filter). For people with serious lung and allergy conditions they are good. For most of us unafflicted folks, we wouldn't notice the difference between an EAC and a regular filter.
If one of my customers has an EAC power pack failure, doesn't have a medical condition related to air purity, then I just suggest putting in a regular air filter with a block to keep it in place and I have never had anyone call me back to replace the power pack.

Last edited by how; 01-14-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:18 PM   #6
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


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Originally Posted by harleyrider View Post
If it has quit working it most likely has a bad power pack and these are very expensive to replace. Most of the 4 inch wide merv 10 filters will fit into most EAC cabinets.
This sounds like my best option if I can't get it working. If I understand correctly, I would remove both cells and replace them with a filter instead.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:33 PM   #7
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


If the EAC will work with one cell then the power pack is probably OK. The
cell that will not work in the EAC is the one to inspect carefully. The high tension lines are the fine wires that run up & down (farthest from the furnace)in the cell. If one or more is missing (they are evenly spaced) then there is a good chance that you have pieces inside of it grounding out the unit.
The main cells are best cleaned in a dishwasher. The prescreens should be hand rinsed instead. The main cells might need to be cleaned one at a time depending on the size of the dishwasher. You can also use a laundry tub full of straight hot water and a small bit of soap. Sloosh them up and down with the collecter plates in the horizontal position like you are using a butter churner. (I'm really giving away my age now). If you accidently bend any of those collecter plates your EAC problems will get more complex. Put them back in the EAC when dry and let us know what's happening.
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:43 PM   #8
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


I just checked on the EAC, and after I got it to turn on, it has since turned itself off. I toggled the ON/OFF switch about 5 times and I heard alot of sparks and it came on again.

I looked at the high tension lines, and all of them are in place.

I'm going to give the cells a clean. Unfortunately I don't have a dishwasher so I guess the laundry room sink will suffice. Do I need to scrub them? Or will swishing them around be OK?
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Old 01-14-2012, 04:56 PM   #9
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


The swooshing will do it. If you are getting a lot of sparking then see if you can see where the arcing is occuring by looking through the furnace blower door. Never touch any part of the cells when the EAC is operating. 7,000 Volts on many of them.
Some EAC's are set up on an air switch that only powers the EAC when the furnace is running. In that case you'll need to tape the furnace door switch closed and see if opening the furnace door just a bit when the furnace is running will give you a view of where the arcing is happening. Then turn off the EAC and press the ground button and pull out the cell and look where the arcing was happening. If you hold the cell up to the light you will probably see two of the collecter plates too close to each other or the EAC frame. You need to gently move them apart but this is more a work of art than of mechanics. Often if you move one part of a collecter plate it will deform another part of it but I don't think you have anything to lose in trying. Remember that any spiders blown against the EAC will also cause sparking but that usually only lasts a minute or so. The random EAC sparking in a clean system usually takes 5-10 minutes of operating time too stablize.

Last edited by how; 01-14-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:06 PM   #10
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


There wasn't a lot of sparking, it sparked 2 or 3 times. And it doesn't always spark, only occasionally when I turn it on.

One of the cells is soaking in the tub now but I only have room to clean one at a time. Once both cells are cleaned and dried (which may not be until tomorrow morning) I'll test them again. I think when I was testing them with both in the cabinet, the two cells may have been touching each other - does this have any affect on them?
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:44 PM   #11
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


That old school unit is finally dying. It has capacitors and what looks like old tv tubes in the power supply which finally die from old age like a 20 yr old tube tv. See if a 4 or 5" pleated filter will fit and use that instead.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:50 PM   #12
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


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That old school unit is finally dying. It has capacitors and what looks like old tv tubes in the power supply which finally die from old age like a 20 yr old tube tv. See if a 4 or 5" pleated filter will fit and use that instead.
Would I be removing the two cells and filling the cabinet with a 4 or 5" pleated filter instead?
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:00 PM   #13
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


the bigger the better. put the 2 cells on the floor and measure the dimensions. see if there is a track inside and measure it's width too.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:41 PM   #14
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


It doesn't matter if the two cells touch. The Sparking is the normal if it is only occasional.
In full defiance of the HVAC gods of today, I rant with another beer in my hand.

That old school technology has given somebody some of the highest air filtration possible for their air stream without increasing the heating bills for at least 20 years..
Measure the difference in the temp rise of a furnace with an EAC compared to a 4 - 5 " pleated filter. Measure the difference again when the 4-5 " pleated filter is dirty if half way through the year. Add that loss of furnace efficiency and heat related parts wear to the cost of those filters over 20 years and I'm not sure our new filter techology is an improvement. It is easier on the furnace tech's who don't have the patience to deal with an EAC, who can just off load the filter cleaning onto the customers & makes the stock holders of filter production companies happy but I'm not sure it is a real quality of life improvement or as cost effective as the old school.
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:09 AM   #15
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Electric Furnace Filter is broken - what are my options?


After cleaning the cells, I reinserted them back into the cabinet but it didn't change much. I can't get the EAC to turn on and the few times that I did, I couldn't get it to stay on. The cells seem like they are still in good shape - nothing bent or broken and nothing that seems to be grounding it.

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