Fresh fallen leaves stuck on furnace filter

What does it mean if the furnace filter collects lots of lint just like what the dryer makes???...Perhaps the dryer is venting inside and the filter is askew and leaks in the return air or filter gap are pulling it into the furnace. Check 'em.

What does it mean if the filter has three-dozen oak leaves pressed onto it?? Today I found an unusually high bill and a handful of foliage fallen from the neighboring trees. In the attic I found a donut of leaves under the vent where the screen had disappeared. The donut hole led to the passageway – an open return duct at the top of a stud run where leaves had blown into the attic only to be sucked into the furnace.

With this info, it was easy to find and explain to the homeowner why the bill was so high, what could be done about the situation, and how it would help. ”You’re heating and cooling the air straight from the attic…see?”

And what does it mean if there's no filter at all?? ...And no cover?? It means the fan is sucking on the zone where the heater is. That fan is strong enough to SUCK the fumes DOWN the flue pipe if it's a gas or oil burner or a woodstove. This depressurization contributes to hundreds of deaths in the US each year as carbon monoxide is colorless, tasteless and odorless besides deadly. Check your filter, read between the lines and then check the filters of those you love. See the whole story in one quick pic.

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Comment by Joseph Lamy on February 3, 2012 at 5:58pm

Sitting at the crossroads of the heat and air in most homes, the lowly filter has a story to tell. A joyous tale of health and wealth, or a tragic fumbling of degeneration and early demise – only the filter knows.

Unless the fit of the lowly filter is tight, the furnace fan will do terrible things to the owners. In some of the worst cases, the powerful fan can essentially bypass the filter and pull most of the air around it, rather than through it. This condition results in dirty air and a dirty heat exchanger, which spells inefficiency down the long road and early expiration dates for the equipment.

The other problems start with poor flow in the farthest rooms as the pressure from the fan on house air has been reduced as the fan seems more involved with merely pulling air around the filter, rather than through the house. It will seek the path of least resistance every time!

Another issue with leaky filters is the high utility bill along with the constant noise from the worn out heater and squeaky fan trying and failing to heat the house well, so the hapless homeowner with the half-way installed filter spends waaay more money on heating or cooling because air coming into the unit may well be outside air if the unit sits in the attic or crawlspace.

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