Products dirty furnace filter

Published on November 4th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Change Your Furnace Filter at the Right Time, Every Time: FilterWatch

dirty furnace filter

Are you religious about changing your air conditioning/furnace filter every 30 or 90 days (or however long the filter’s supposed to last)? If “yes, that’s good: you’re probably saving yourself some money on your heating/cooling bill (which is the biggest source of energy use in all of our homes). However, that 30/90 day rating on your filter is a bit like the 3 month/3000 mile metric for changing your car’s oil:  it represents a general measurement of peak performance. Specifics about your home – carpet, pets, dust, etc. – will mean that your filter may be getting clogged well before the end of the month… or that a 30 day filter may actually last your for 60 days.

But how can you know that? Sure, you can check the filter regularly, even daily, but do you know what an air filter looks like when it’s clogged, say, 20%? Or 40%? Me, either… but I do know that in both those cases, my heating/AC system is having to work harder to heat or cool the same space… and that means extra energy and money.

John Pollak of Phoenix, AZ, was paying $800 electricity bills when he decided to figure out when his air conditioner’s filters were getting clogged enough to make the system work less efficiently. No more waiting until the beginning of the month to change a filter – John wanted to know the exact moment at which that filter needed changing. The result of his experiments and tinkering: the FilterWatch, a simple device that measures air flow into the filter. Here’s the thinking behind this gadget:

Pretty simple, huh? This simple device could end up saving you hundreds of dollars a year, though (depending on the price of electricity in your area). John and his partners are currently pre-selling the device through a Kickstarter campaign: they’ve already hit their funding goal for the project, so the product will be produced. If you’re interested in trying the FilterWatch out, just commit to the funding level for the product/package you’d like to purchase (which should ship early next year).

Know of other simple gadgets for keeping the heating bills down? Share them with us…

This post was generously sponsored by John Pollock.

Image credit: HighTechDad via photopin cc



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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