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Old 04-27-2019, 03:17 PM   #1
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Furnace Filter modification

Hi, with all the talk of sail switch failures, I decided to try and prevent any lint or dust from entering fan / sail switch compartment. My 19’ is over 1 year old and has not had any problems as of today. When I did this mod, I checked the sail switch and it did have some white lint built up. What did I do?

1) Removed furnace and sealed up compartment completely with expanding foam. Upper and lower gaps, corners etc. Once the foam cured I then trimmed to make it flush and neat. I did not take a picture once I trimmed it.

2) I then took the front grill apart and cut a furnace filter to fit around exhaust. I held this in place with aluminum foil tape.

3) Reinstalled the front round air deflector, and secured the collapsible vent hose with new zap straps.

4) Put the furnace back in and mounted all the screws.

It works really well and you can tell a slight difference in air flow / fan noise once you put the front wood plat back on. Meaning the only air it is getting is through the filter. It does not restrict air flow enough to hurt the fan.

Let’s hope no future sail switch failures!

Cheers
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Old 04-27-2019, 04:15 PM   #2
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That should work and a must do if you have any furry friends with you.
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Old 04-27-2019, 05:16 PM   #3
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Thought about this same approach- using furnace filter material. However, I was uncertain whether or not the glass fibers in the filter might cause the same problem (fibers getting into the sail switch) as the white fibers that come from the unknown source. Please update this thread once you have used the furnace a bunch of times.
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Old 04-27-2019, 06:32 PM   #4
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I ordered the charcoal filter material that someone else had provided a link to a while back. But when it arrived it was very dense, I think intended to filter water rather than air, looked like it would severely restrict air flow so I am now looking for a much thinner A/C filter material.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:09 PM   #5
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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1




Going to give this material a try.
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Old 04-27-2019, 07:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sowen23 View Post
It works really well and you can tell a slight difference in air flow / fan noise once you put the front wood plat back on. Meaning the only air it is getting is through the filter. It does not restrict air flow enough to hurt the fan.
Nice work but just a word of caution....

These furnaces are very sensitive to proper airflow. Escape uses the low amp model furnace for less battery drain when boondocking. It is not rated to handle really any external resistance. This includes the return air path. The filter you show is MERV 8 which can have a decent initial resistance (clean) especially at higher velocity generated by that small return air area on the grille. Plus we need to remember that this is going to catch all the dirt now and will load. A loaded filter will restrict airflow even more. Possibly not enough to cause the sail switch to not make, but enough to cycle the furnace on high limit. Since these furnaces have a fixed fan speed and non-modulating burner the increased resistance will cause a reduction in airflow which will cause a larger temperature rise of the air across the heat exchanger. The high limit will trip at 190F. You may want to look into a material with less filtering efficiency or treat this as a maintenance item with regular replacement.
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File Type: jpg 0918142A-6CFF-4B3C-A8FB-A7CDF678526A.jpg (186.3 KB, 22 views)
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:17 PM   #7
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Would the wife nylon socks do the trick for the filtration on the air?
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Old 04-27-2019, 08:21 PM   #8
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Air restriction is currently very minor..... will keep an eye on it and appreciate the input. Unlike a house furnace filter ... the relative use will also be minor so expect it to last several seasons. If not, a 10 min job to replace.
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Old 04-27-2019, 09:44 PM   #9
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I bet something very thin like the screening on the A/C intake would work, or something even more open - just want to keep out big dust bunnies, cat hair, etc. not every dust particle like a regular A/C filter is designed to do.

Somewhere out there is the perfect material waiting to be discovered....
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:10 AM   #10
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Ever since I was caught with a pair of panty hose in the glove box, I have been using them for an air or paint filter......
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:38 AM   #11
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Since I also do quite a bit of outdoor gear sewing, and having quite a stock if materials.

I made a filter out of 2 layers of No-See-Um netting https://ripstopbytheroll.com/collections/noseeum-mesh
It is much finer than "mosquito netting"

I cut the center circle using a soldering iron, small slot tip, which sealed the 2 layers together. stretched the fabric behind the wood frame, stapled in place then reinstalled.

We have not used it enough yet to see if it is an improvement or not. It has almost no resistance to airflow but should catch the stray fuzz, and can be cleaned with a vacuum or wiped with a damp cloth.
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Old 04-28-2019, 07:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidmurphy02 View Post
I bet something very thin like the screening on the A/C intake would work, or something even more open - just want to keep out big dust bunnies, cat hair, etc. not every dust particle like a regular A/C filter is designed to do.

Somewhere out there is the perfect material waiting to be discovered....
I would suggest trying a very low efficiency furnace filter found at any home improvement store. Cut the media to fit. This is only MERV 2.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/True-Blu...0251/100345357
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:38 PM   #13
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I got to thinking further about this and realized that I had an effective solution right under my nose. We've always used a small electric space heater when we have shore power, and also use several at home. With a house or trailer full of cats, dust bunnies are our constant companion. I added a piece of window screen material to the back of the space heaters with Gorilla tape. The heaters have worked fine that way for years, and it's easy to just wipe off the lint from the back once a month or so just like cleaning a dryer lint screen. I used a special cat-claw resistant screen material since I build catios for a living and have a workshop full of it, but I think any common window screen material would work fine. Window screen hardly restricts air flow at all, but will certainly catch dust bunnies and pieces of lint. My goal was to keep the big stuff out and not restrict air flow - I think a regular furnace filter that's designed to also trap dust, pollen and very small particles would restrict air flow and possibly impact the operation of the furnace.

So I removed the black plastic furnace grate, cut off the zip ties holding the flexible vent on, and removed the vent. Then I removed the wood frame covering the hole. I considered stapling the screen material to the back of the wood frame, but was concerned the staples might splinter the oak. It was actually easier to staple the screen to the paneling / soft wood below just around the edge of the hole. I cut a round hole in the center just the size of the flexible vent. Then I pulled the vent through the hole - very carefully, there is just enough room to pull it several inches through to work it onto the flange on the back of the plastic grate and zip tied it securely in place. Two screws and the plastic grate is back and it's done. If you ever needed to access the furnace for repair, easy enough to just cut off the screen with a utility knife and staple a new piece up afterward.

When we can see lint collecting on the screen, it will be simple to pop out the two screws holding the grate, pull it out an inch or two, and scrape off the lint. We are in Texas and it is hot today so I can't test it just yet....we have a trip to Utah planned in the fall and I'll report back on how it does. We used the furnace in our old trailer only when boondocking because it was really loud, but this one is so quiet that I expect we'll use it more, I never trust the cheap electric heaters and would not run them when we are sleeping.

I'll also post this in my thread with all the mods I am doing in our trailer, but thought that on this thread it would be easier for people to find in the future when searching furnace issues.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Furnace 1.jpg (213.3 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg Furnace 2.jpg (182.6 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg Furnace 3.jpg (171.5 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg Furnace 4.jpg (209.4 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg Furnace 5.jpg (175.2 KB, 22 views)
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:47 PM   #14
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Nice work. That screen solution just might be the ticket.
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Old 04-28-2019, 04:57 PM   #15
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David,
Can you post a source for that type of screening?
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:01 PM   #16
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David,
Can you post a source for that type of screening?
https://www.metroscreenworks.com/rol.../super-screen/

This is where I buy mine. Probably not cost effective to buy from them just to get a foot long piece for the furnace opening, I really think standard window screen from Home Depot would work just as well.
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Old 04-28-2019, 05:45 PM   #17
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David I may have missed it but what dimension is that opening? You can get computer dust screen in different sizes. After reading your mod I checked Amazon and I think there is one screen that's about 11 inches square for about $10. Anything larger was over $20. I've been building my desktop computers for years and proper airflow is critical.
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:08 PM   #18
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David I may have missed it but what dimension is that opening? You can get computer dust screen in different sizes. After reading your mod I checked Amazon and I think there is one screen that's about 11 inches square for about $10. Anything larger was over $20. I've been building my desktop computers for years and proper airflow is critical.
I've already put it back together but looks like the hole is roughly 9x13. I would guess that a computer dust screen is designed to trap very small dust particles, and computer fans have relatively low air flow compared to a furnace. Since the furnace grate comes with no filter of any kind and has lots of large louvered openings, it looks like they designed it to draw in lots of air and weren't concerned about small particles (they clearly should have been concerned about lint and dust bunnies clogging the sail switch contacts....). I thought about something along the lines of the filter that's in the air conditioner....but since I had the window screen on hand and had used it successfully on other heaters I went with that.
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Old 04-28-2019, 06:39 PM   #19
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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...R9MK7WRYEMV18S Thanks David I'll try to link that filter and see what you think. As you know a high performance computer requires a good bit of airflow and I'm not sure that what I've used in the past is any more restrictive than air conditioner filter material.
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Old 04-28-2019, 08:54 PM   #20
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David,
Can you post a source for that type of screening?
Jim: Interesting timing. I just dug an old retractable patio screen out of the basement yesterday left by previous owners and was going to throw away. Screen is in good shape. If you want me to cut you a piece and mail it just PM me your address.
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