Should You Cut HVAC Air Filters To Fit The Space?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

Should you cut HVAC air filters to fit the space?

The answer - NO!

The purpose of the HVAC air filter is to keep the system clean. 

Yes, the TV commercials say that if you use this or that filter the air in the house will be cleaner and your children will be healthier.

While it is true that while the air filtered by the high-efficiency filters is cleaned of harmful particulates in the air, the HVAC system does not handle enough volume of air per hour to actually keep the air in the house clean.

I had a post on this years ago.  You can read it by clicking here.

But cutting any filter that was not sized properly to begin with is never an appropriate thing to do. 

FILTERS SHOULD BE PROPERLY SIZED TO FIT THE AREA THAT THE SYSTEM IS DESIGNED TO FILTER AIR.

As stated above, keeping the system clean is the primary thing the air filter is intended to do. 

How long has the filter in the photo above, or other air filters, been used in the unit in this subject house?  It's impossible to know.  But just look at the amount of dust that is coming out from INSIDE the unit!   Imagine how dirty that system must be!

My recommendation - it's worth a peek inside the air filter access port to view the filter itself.  Is it caked with dust?  Does it look to have been replaced recently?  Is the area around it dusty and dirty?  Is it properly sized?  Looking at the filter in the photo above, and the area before and after it, it was easy to report that the system needed a complete service and cleaning.  Any why not?  Bad practice should always be followed by good practice.  Good filter maintenance and habits are not only good, but BEST practice!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


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Rainmaker
2,356,675
Nina Hollander
RE/MAX Executive | Charlotte, NC - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

What an interesting topic, Jay. It never occured to me to cut down filters, as the "right size" ones are always available in many of our local stores. But I suppose someone is doing this and your advice should be heeded.

Dec 26, 2016 04:57 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,162,027
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

I've seen a lot of houses with filters that obviously had not been replaced recently. Ick.

Dec 26, 2016 05:45 AM #2
Rainmaker
2,608,709
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker

Good mornng Jay. Must say, have never seen this type of personal sizing before! Enjoy your day!

Dec 26, 2016 06:12 AM #3
Rainmaker
1,755,835
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Nina - for the smart and common sensical new filters are available everywhere!

For sure Kat.  I see them every day!

Wayne - while I have, I thought it time to rant a little.  Hope AR doesn't mind!

Dec 26, 2016 06:25 AM #4
Rainmaker
478,507
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Jay Markanich the air filter is an important and highly overlooked maintenance item.

Dec 26, 2016 07:03 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,755,835
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Así, es, Señor Don.

I bet your record for seeing awful filters matches mine. 

Dec 26, 2016 07:15 AM #6
Rainmaker
524,424
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

Yeah, that baby looks like it just might leak air around the sides a bit... lol, evaporator coil cleaning coming up!

Dec 26, 2016 08:01 AM #7
Rainmaker
1,755,835
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You can see the crud coming out Fred.  Must be a sight inside there!

Dec 26, 2016 10:19 AM #8
Rainmaker
2,138,395
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

That photo is a testament to what you have written, Jay!  I once owned a rental, where the tenant was "creative" with the filter.  It created a real mess!

Dec 26, 2016 04:20 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,755,835
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That can never be good, Myrl.  It took a service call I'm sure!

Dec 26, 2016 06:07 PM #10
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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