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Old 12-15-2007, 12:43 PM   #1
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


Hello, all.

I bought a house in late 2006 that has a somewhat improvised heating system and now it's time to determine whether I have to do anything about it.

I'd also like to know whether you recommend that I keep the shutters for the outside air open or closed, see the end of the post.

%%

Allright, the filter first.

The problem is that there is a "non-standard" filter mount. Instead of inside the furnace it is mounted in the gap between the duct and the furnice:

http://www.cons.org/heatingsystem/furnace0.jpg

As you can see, the gap is wider than the filter and I use a high-tech device to fill the gap.

Now, from the inside this doesn't look too horrible, fit-wise:

http://www.cons.org/heatingsystem/furnace1.jpg

I think that somebody mounted a unit which has the filter mount of what is now the bottom and then cut a new opening for a filter.

Another closeup of the "mount":
http://www.cons.org/heatingsystem/furnace2.jpg

So, the question is: do you think I need to do something about this, or do you think as long as the filter sits this nicely I can ignore the problem.

%%

The second question I have is about the air shutters between the heating system room and the Big Blue Room, aka outside (we geeks don't see it too often).

http://www.cons.org/heatingsystem/ducts.jpg

In winter (Boston, cold, windy), do you keep them open? I noticed that when I tried to open them last winter for a few weeks my heating bill exploded.

I know that this is where the oxygen for the flame in the furnace comes from, but it seems to me that the closed position, which has still plenty of cold air coming it (it's not nrealy tights) should be sufficient.

What's the general consensus on this?

Of course if I have them open I need to make very sure that the fresh air only reaches the flame, and doesn't get mixed up with the air circulating my living space. Given the above filter mount mess, and given apparent lack of insulation on many of the large duct areas there, that might be easier than done.

Opinions?

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Old 12-15-2007, 01:00 PM   #2
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


I aint no HVAC guy but that whole set up looks jacked..

I would call a local company and get thier opion on the best way to proceed to fix it.

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Old 12-15-2007, 03:04 PM   #3
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


Ayuh,........

The Filter appears to be the Wrong Filter Element,..... It's Too tall.....

The pull out elements come in many various sizes,....
If you had the 1 that Fits,......
I really don't see any Issues there.......

That's there to filter the Dust from the cold air return.......
It probably should be Changed on a regular basis......

As for the Outside air Venting,.?..?..?..?.

I don't know Why,.......
Anybody in the Northeast would cut a Hole in their House to let In Cold Outside Air,......
Most if not All houses are somewhat Loose,..... Even if your curtians Aren't moving when the Wind blows outside,.... There's always heat loss,+ natural venting of a House,......
The amount of Air needed for that furnace should be pretty much a Non-issue..........
Quote:
do you keep them open?
'ell No,..........
I'd be Stuffing'em Full of insulation,+ Ducttaping them shut til I could get that Hole Closed...........

Last edited by Bondo; 12-15-2007 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 12-15-2007, 04:23 PM   #4
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


Quote:
Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
...The second question I have is about the air shutters between the heating system room and the Big Blue Room, aka outside (we geeks don't see it too often).

http://www.cons.org/heatingsystem/ducts.jpg

In winter (Boston, cold, windy), do you keep them open? I noticed that when I tried to open them last winter for a few weeks my heating bill exploded.

I know that this is where the oxygen for the flame in the furnace comes from, but it seems to me that the closed position, which has still plenty of cold air coming it (it's not nrealy tights) should be sufficient.

What's the general consensus on this?

Of course if I have them open I need to make very sure that the fresh air only reaches the flame, and doesn't get mixed up with the air circulating my living space. Given the above filter mount mess, and given apparent lack of insulation on many of the large duct areas there, that might be easier than done.

Opinions?

Do these vents go directly outside or are they on the inside of the house?

The furnace needs air for proper combustion but if your furnace is not a 90+ efficienct furnace that draws air directly from the outside then there needs air for the combustion but it should not be directly from the outside.


If your heat bills are high then check to see if you have the proper amount of insulation in the attic. As well as the side walls.

Last edited by redline; 12-15-2007 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 12-15-2007, 07:43 PM   #5
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


Thanks for the info so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by redline View Post
Do these vents go directly outside or are they on the inside of the house?

The furnace needs air for proper combustion but if your furnace is not a 90+ efficienct furnace that draws air directly from the outside then there needs air for the combustion but it should not be directly from the outside.


If your heat bills are high then check to see if you have the proper amount of insulation in the attic. As well as the side walls.
These vents go directly outside. The walls of this room are to the garage, which is probably prohibited from having any vents to the heating system room (fuel fumes and open flame don't mix) and a bathroom, would require messing up a tiled wall and might be prohibited, too. So I figure the initial installation just picked the outside connection as a last resort.

My heating bills are fine (as far as I can tell), except for the one month where I had the vents open. "Fine" doesn't mean optimal, though, so I started out investigating things like these. I wonder whether I can cheaply measure the amount of oxygen in the air in that room. But I can't imagine there's lack because as I said these vents are like forced air heating vents, they never really close tight.

The too large filter has to be so that I can handle it and arrest it in that position.

I suppose I could think about a more efficient furnace that solves the air duct problem by going outside itself, saves money and I'd get a new filter mount. Gotta do some math...

I think for this winter I should at least mount the filter tighter so that less heating system room air mixes with circulating air, and I should probably put some insulation against the large surfaces of the return air duct to the left. What do you think?
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:30 PM   #6
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


Quote:
Originally Posted by uOpt View Post

I think for this winter I should at least mount the filter tighter so that less heating system room air mixes with circulating air, and I should probably put some insulation against the large surfaces of the return air duct to the left. What do you think?
You may be able to remove the filter and seal up the slot and then install filters in the air returns inside the home.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:37 AM   #7
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


The filter set up is the same as millions of other ones in the us. You may want to get one that is shorter and fits in the duct but not soshort that it leaves and open space at the top. A sheetmetal cover is the most common for this type of install, often its just duct tape. You legally need outside air to this room for combustion, the best place to getthe real answer for your area is the building inspection office, amounts of outside air vary by the code they are using. If your house is too tight you will get CO problems and no one wants that to happen.
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:01 PM   #8
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How would you mount this furnace filter, and question about shutters to outside air


I agree with the other guy. This furnace looks to be in need of a yearly service at which time you can ask questions. As one of the other members suggested maybe we can use a shorter filter and have the tech measure and quote an inexpensive sheet metal filler piece they could fabricate and you could pick up and install. If your guy won't help look in the yellow pages for one that will. As far as the combustion air goes I can't quite get my mind around exactly whats going on there looking at the picture. I do know this is nothing to mess around with, and a gas water heater that you may have needs air also. A cheap way to go is a 6" fresh air hood cut through to the outside of the home with an insulated flex hooked to it.This flex is then run to the furnace room with the end of the flex in a 5 gallon bucket. The theory is it will only let as much air in as needed. BUT, I don't know your local codes and you need a professional to look, so you and yours are safe.

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