Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Would you buy
A car sans tires?

Then why buy an A/C
System without a filter?

The temperature in the shade was close to 90 F with an 80% relative humidity.

The air conditioning system's compressor failed and the air handler was on its last legs.

I sent out RFQs for a new system - compressor and air handler. Several vendors came out to measure space available and offer quotes. Some PROMISED quotes but failed to deliver.

Finally we settled on one vendor and arrived at a price. The installation was a few days later (a weekend getting in the way).

Three guys came out: an A/C specialist, a plumber, and an electrician. All seemed competent and they managed to get the two units installed in about 5 hours.

During the final check out I asked where to install the air handler filter. I was shown. Then I asked: "Where's the filter?"

The air handler must have a filter if it is going to last for any length of time. The filter filters air pulled into the system from inside the building. Good filters need to be changed every two to three months - at a minimum. Failing to change a filter lets it get clogged and that causes all manner of problems.

Been there, done that.

I could not believe an A/C system, or even just an air handler, would be installed without a filter. A/C companies - Carrier, Rheem/Rudd, Amana, et al, need to include as part of the installation a suitably sized filter.

Filters for the air handler range in RETAIL cost from $5 to $20 each. The more you pay, in theory, the better the filtration.

If the company installing air handlers buys in quantity, the cost of a $20 retail filter could be driven down to - say - $7. If a new A/C system costs $3,800 (or more), including a $7 filter makes good business sense.

Because I am who I am, when the installation supervisor stopped by to check on the work, I mentioned that I thought it was stupid to jeopardize a system for lack of a filter. The old "For want of a nail, a shoe was lost…" story.

To his credit, he agreed to provide a filter, and one of his troops, the electrician, made a special trip to deliver the medium grade filter that apparently had been lying around the shop.

The new system has been running a few hours now and the temperature, 88 F when the work was finished, now is 80 F, but it is too early to tell if the everything is OK. Ask me in 12 months and I'll "rate the system" and the company that installed it.

But I'm still shaking my head: selling and installing an air handler without a filter is like buying a car without tires.

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