Does Your Noisy Air Filter Keep You Up At Night?
Air filter noise is a very common problem in residential heating and air conditioning equipment and there are many causes. Although the noise gets your attention, it may only be a symptom of a much bigger problem.
Common Causes of Noisy Air Flow
Undersized return grills and return ducts are unfortunately very common. They can also be the most difficult and costly problems to correct. However, there some other solutions you can try. Although they won’t fix the real problem that causes of the noise, they may eliminate the noise.
The most common air filters used in residential heating and air conditioning systems are pleated filters and they often don’t fit well into the return grill or air handler. Return air, like electricity and water, takes the path of least resistance and the path of least resistance is often around the air filter instead of through it.
Unfortunately when air passes through these narrow spaces between the filter and the filter housing, it can cause whistling or even hissing noises that quickly become very annoying.
Before You Call A Contractor
Here are 5 Easy Solutions to Whistling and Hissing Noises that Don’t Require a Contractor:
- In the return grill or the filter rack, which is often difficult to reach, you can install foam tape, which will act as a gasket, around the section where the filter sits. This helps to create a tighter fit.
- Use less efficient filters. Pleated filters have MERV Ratings and the higher the number is the greater the resistance to air flow. Unfortunately, filters with lower MERV ratings won’t clean the air as well as filters with higher ratings.
- Change your filter more often. If you only begin hearing air noises after the filter has been installed for some time, you may not be changing your filter often enough. As dirt builds up on the filter air flow resistance increases and this can result in air going around the filter instead of through it.
Here’s a Bonus Tip For a Less Common Problem
Often when return grills are mounted in the ceiling and the filter is loose it gets sucked up against the duct opening causing a thud every time the fan starts.
This can be corrected by building up the inner surface that the filter hits against so that the filter fits firmly into place and there is no space between the filter and the duct opening for the filter to move (as listed in number 2 above).
A better solution is to install a return air filter which is designed specifically to be installed in return air grills.
This is certainly not every potential problem that may cause your filters to be noisy but these tips will help you to solve some of the most common problems you may encounter.
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