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Advice Pls! Landlord's cut-down furnace filter has been pumping out tiny bits of fiberglass that I've been inhaling/ingesting.  Health/legal advice needed, please!

I was Swiffering under end tables, etc today and found the Swiffer covered with thick dust-bunnies of tiny blue fibers -- as though I had been running a blue-jeans factory here.  Not my 'usual' dust at all.  What could this possibly be, I wondered.

Then I remembered that my HUD Landlord (in a Project-based Section 8 complex) had said several months ago that 'they couldn't get' the correct size of furnace filter for my unit, so they would start cutting down larger filters to fit my furnace.  (My furnace was replaced before they remodeled all units but mine -- due to my Multiple Chemical Sensitivities -- so my filter is a different size than all the newer furnaces.)

Landlord brought a new, cut-down filter with blue fibers in January, just in time for the bitterly-cold weather.I sneezed and huffed and chuffed through the winter, chalking it up to allergies.

Today, making a start at Spring Cleaning, I started to Swiffer in the hard-to-reach places under furniture, and found the strange mats of blue fiber.  (These same areas had been cleaned in late December.)

I am assuming that the blue-fiber dust-bunnies are shreds of fiberglass from the cut sides of the furnace filter, and that I have been inhaling and/or ingesting bits of fiberglass for the last three months.  I also assume that there are now bits of fiberglass in the heating system, including in the duct-work, ready to be blown into my living space.

I will begin researching the health effects of inhaled/ingested fiberglass bits as soon as I post this.  I am hoping that someone here will be able to offer me guidance to related sites on health effects.

I also wonder about the possible legal implications for the Landlord, in terms of what I can expect (if anything) in terms of (1) preventing future contamination by providing the correct size of filters, (2)  protection from any residual fiberglass in the heating unit and/or duct-work.  Can I expect Landlord to provide (for example) some kind of filters to place over the vents, to prevent the fiberglass from entering my living space?  Can I expect the Landlord to have the ducts professionally cleaned?

Advice and links will be very welcome.  I'll be out in teh Intertubes doing my own searching, so I may not respond immediately to comments. Thanks to all!

2:05 PM PT: UPDATE:  Found the spec sheet on the furnace filter --

Important Features
spun glass; lasts up to 30 days
maximum air flow
alleviates strain on equipment

This is a standard grade furnace filter of
the same type that has been protecting
furnaces and central air conditioners around
the world for over 50 years. The filtering
medium is continuous filament spun glass.
The frame is made with one continuous
piece of chipboard to guard against corner
separation. For peak equipment protection
and energy efficiency, these filters should be
changed monthly in periods of high use. Buy
a case and be set for the year!

[Spec sheet info ends]

So they are fiberglass, and they should be changed monthly (not very 3 months, as Landlord is doing).

Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 4:32 PM PT: UPDATE Mon 3/31/14 -- Last night, after learning a good bit about the fiberglass strands used in furnace filters, I researched better-quality filters and learned a lot more.  (Thanks for the links, guys!)  Before buying anything or talking to Management, I decided to talk to the Maintenance Guy to get his thoughts.  (He's a nice young guy, a college-educated Millennial.)  He was very forthcoming with  ideas and we discussed several steps toward remediation.  He is also very willing to work with me in regard to my chemical sensitivities at every step.  He suggested finding some kind of filtration material that he will install inside the vents -- I had expected to have to beg and/or fight for that, and expected to have to put something over the vents.  The furnace's enclosure is very dirty/dusty; he will bring a HEPA shop-vac and clean all of that out, and clean the furnace's coils.  He will take off the folding metal louvered doors to the enclosure and I will clean them with my own cleaning solution.   I will do a thorough cleaning (which I had just begun anyway).  He will provide either MSDS sheets or enough info on every product he brings into the apartment so that I can research it for chemicals I have to avoid.  All in all, I found the interaction to be very positive.  We established a baseline plan and talked about our various tasks, and agreed that we would work out details as we go along.  This will give me the opportunity to write an email to the Manager (who is out of the office until Thursday) praising the Maintenance Guy for being to pro-active and helpful in arriving at a plan for a Reasonable Accommodation in regard to the furnace-filter problem.  All in all, a very good outcome, imo!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Probably Polyester, Not Fiberglass (9+ / 0-)

    You should try to confirm this.

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:54:01 PM PDT

  •  Doesn't sound good. First thing, take pictures (14+ / 0-)

    and document date & time etc and try to find out whats in the filter. And also if there's a warning from the manufacturer about NOT cutting down the filter.

    I don't love writing, but I love having written ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

    by jan4insight on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 01:58:11 PM PDT

  •  Blunt reply: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Addison, JeffW, Roadbed Guy, worldlotus

    Daily Kos is not a place for medical advice.

    Your doctor is.

    Talk to your doctor.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:05:03 PM PDT

  •  Get. the. F. Out. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why fight the Good fight when your health is concerned?

    Notice: This Comment © 2014 ROGNM UID 2547

    by ROGNM on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:05:53 PM PDT

  •  Go get some................ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, Lujane

    of those cheap paper filter masks to go over your mouth and nose.  Plus check with your Doctor.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:10:50 PM PDT

  •  It's not likely to be fiberglas, if it was (7+ / 0-)

    manufactured any time in the last ten years or so. That said, the fact that you've got so much blue lint accumulated probably means that the filter wasn't doing any kind of a job all winter. That in itself might be enough to account for your symptoms.

    One good thing here - this kind of filtering material doesn't generally break down finely enough to hang around in the air after it streams up through your ducts, so what you're finding is probably the majority of the fibers that came up into your living space.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:16:56 PM PDT

    •  Re your update: you've gotten a ton of good (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      advice - I'll repeat two pieces of it - you never, ever cut down fiberglas filters, and no matter what size the filter, somebody makes one to fit. Good luck with both your cleaning and stomping on your landlord.

      Sorry to have made the wrong assumption above.

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:32:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't? (0+ / 0-)

        gee, that's all I can use in my parents house, as it mounts (clips) onto a metal, u-shaped frame...

        ''The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic.'' - Justice Hugo L. Black of the Supreme Court

        by geekydee on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:31:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  These filters are used ubiquitously (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and thus are more or less "safe" (e.g., similar to washed sea sand maybe, something that sounds really scary from the MSDS but I've actually seen parents let their kids play in the UNwashed variety - the horror, the horror).

    An interesting factoid is that "powdered glass" is being used in biomedical applications, e.g., for tissue engineering . . . . .

  •  I Spent Years Doing Fiberglass Boat Building. (5+ / 0-)

    Glass fibers as I recall are not a very serious problem, certainly nothing like asbestos. Fiberglass is still being installed widely in furnace filters and building insulation; asbestos if they find it in your building, you might have to evacuate worst case, and it can be very costly to remove if it's not possible to somehow seal it in place.

    We'd get the glass fibers all over us from handling the spun and woven cloth, and in dust form from grinding cured layup, basically the same stuff as itching powder. Roommates and girlfriends would get it on them too, which I found led to a certain elevated turnover in my social life. Last I heard all those from that time in my life are still alive and kicking.

    That was 40 years ago and I still have the wind to run for exercise, play tin whistle and more.

    I think it's a more of a problem for people who handle it in glass shops, insulation installers etc.

    My first educated estimate is that you've got nothing serious to worry about, beyond whatever itching and possible short term respiratory irritation you may have.

    By all means research it. The thing you'd really have to worry about in an old building would be asbestos, but that would be dull grey not blue, which sounds as you say like loose furnace filter glass or polyester.

    Since the filters don't get hot, you'd think that jury-rigging oversized filters, they could duct tape the cut edges so there aren't loose fibers blowing around. The whole enterprise may be out of code of course.

    Good luck but don't freak out yet.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:26:27 PM PDT

    •  It's just not credible (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane, CroneWit, Agathena, MarEng, J Orygun

      that replacement filters are not available . . . I'd take that to mean "we don't carry that size on the truck".  That said, these are also not items of "high technology".  Cutting off one end and re-edging it with duct tape (to replace the cardboard edging it came with) is not going to turn a harmless filter into some major health threat.  On the other hand a one month replacement cycle is not credible either . . . if the filter is clogging that fast you have other, far more serious, problems to contend with.

      And then there's fiberglass itself.  If you can see it it's not a "health hazard".  Unlike asbestos (which is soft, and powders easily) fiberglass does not readily become the fine powder it would have to be to get into and do damage in your lungs.  In general the stuff the filter is catching is far more dangerous than any unintended release of the filter fiber itself.

      But if you're still in doubt find the correct filter size and got to a hardware store and buy one.  That way you have complete control of the material and quality.  Include the receipt and a cover letter with the next rent check . . . it's quite unlikely that the landlord will have any objection to a reasonable substitute.

      It's not clear from the diary why the furnace was not replaced when the others were . . . what's up with that?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:08:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks, Gooserock. Not freaking, just concerned (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and hoping that my upper-respiratory problems are just mechanical (scratches, constant irritation from circulating fiberglass bits).

      The filters are just a mat of fibers in a cardboard frame (strips folded around the circumference, glued down at the corners).  The maintenance guys just pull off one end of the cardboard strips (carefully, because it will be put back on), then cut the mat.  The new (unused)  one I have has only one short end taken off, so they only cut across the width to shorten it by ~4".  Then they put the cardboard end back on and (!) duct-taped it back on (the previous one was glued, iirc).

      Duct-taping the cut end, as you suggest, doesn't seem to me to do the trick of keeping bits from circulating.  I'm thinking that, in the current, malfunctioning filter, the majority of the cut bits would have been more or less contained near the cut end, under the cardboard -- and they still got sucked into the circulating air.  To really 'fix' the bits, it seems to me that they would have to use some kind of glue to make the cut edges into a solid unit (and which would introduce the problem of solvents, which I must avoid).

      Then there's the question of possible broken bits throughout the body of the mat -- through manhandling during construction or by the maintenance guy holding the mat down while cutting with a box-knife.

      And then there's the fact that these filters are thinner and more flimsy than any I've ever seen, and the fact that Landlord is replacing them every 3 months when website recommends only 1 month of useful life.

      I'm thinking I'll just order some high-rated filters from Amazon, and see if I can find some kind of filtration fabric that I can cut to size to cover the blower-outlets with, if I can find something that will allow full air volume to get through.  Possibly get and air-cleaner as well, if I can find one that the silicon won't abrade.

      Just thinking out loud here.

      •  I am not sure you have a fiberglass filter. (0+ / 0-)

        There are coarse filters, typically sold in the home
        improvement centers, and often hardware stores,
        that are designed to be 'cut' to size as necessary.

        We call them 'hog bristles'. Look at these pictures,
        and then 'click through' on the one(s) that yours most
        resemble. As you can see, there are three or four
        different filters types that have blue materials in their
        construction. Some, yes, are fiberglass, some are other
        forms of extruded plastics like foam rubber actually.
        Older furnaces often had and have 'non standard' sizes,
        requiring some sort of field fabrication or adaptation.

        The physical symptoms you describe are consistent with
        the de-humidification that occurs naturally with the operation
        of a gas fired or other high temperature output furnace.
        If you mentioned how your heat was generated, I may
        have missed it, but it has some bearing in this. It occurs
        because warm air can and does hold more water, as a
        vapor, or gas - think of steam, but not as dense. As we
        humans are basically bags of water, this warmer air
        wicks some of our body's water out via expiration -
        hence the upper respiratory scratchiness and dryness.
        Even the eyes and nasal passages can be affected.

        These are very common complaints in the winter with
        such systems, and were much worse when everything
        was open wood, or coal fired. The old timers back then,
        and some still today, were known to keep a pot or kettle
        of water on the wood stove or just for such conditions.
        The 'modern' furnace doesn't lend itself to such solutions.
        This is enough of an issue that there are actual HVAC
        manufacturers that make 'auto' humidifiers to address this.

        It appears that the longer and colder the winter, the worse
        the aggravation, indicative of some cumulative function.
        Hydrate! This is a very common issue for many in the winter.

        As far as the dust bunnies go, if you can physically
        see the filter material, it probably is of a size that
        will not tend to hurt you, generally speaking, as they
        seem to be settling out of the air fairly quickly.
        Are you noticing it in nasal discharge, or sputum?
        Isn't what you can't see that is the most scary?

        I am not sure testing to determine it's elements
        would alleviate your concerns either way, and I
        am not familiar with any testing facilities anywhere.
        Most HVAC equipment made now has a warning sticker
        that they do indeed contain 'fiberglass wool'- which has
        "been determined by the state of California to cause .....etc"

        The google might be able to help, but it could be pricy.
        A local college might have the necessary equipment,
        and the inclination to process your samples possibly.
        Perhaps this is a job for your city or county health department?

        I have been working around fiberglass insulation most
        of my adult life, and I hate how it scratches your skin,
        and I don't believe it totally harmless for a second.
        I am hoping to see better solutions adopted before I go.

        I try not to worry too much about it, other work related
        concerns, like traffic accidents, or falling from a ladder,
        are statistically much more likely to cause me harm.
        There is a reason insulators and such wear respirators, though.

        I hope this helps allay some of your worries.

        The persecution of "the left" at Daily Kos... (76+ / 1-) reminds me of the War on Christmas. I'm a Silly Rabbit. by Trix on Fri Nov 01, 2013 at 05:39:00 PM CDT

        by Larsstephens on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 09:19:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Practical inhalation exposure and toxicity depends (6+ / 0-)

    on particle size.    Particles of 30 microns or less are considered suspendable and thus are available for inhalation.   However, the actual pulmonary exposure to particles mostly depends on the particle fraction at and below 10 microns, although particles smaller than 2.5 microns are more dangerous.   Larger particles are deposited in upper airways and do not reach pulmonary alveolar tissue.

    Particles generated by mechanical disturbance of polyester filter material will be large particle and will not likely be suspendable at all.


    •  Appreciate your Micron info, LakeSuperior (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I had to learn a little about micron size in inhalation injuries after I suffered a catastrophic chemical injury in 1997.  Larger sizes, which adhere to the back of the throat, get swallowed and enter the bloodstream as an ingested (rather than an inhaled) substance.

      My symptoms this winter have been 'from the neck up', not going into my lungs (I mean, no lung-related congestion), which I've been seeing as a good thing.

    •  Follow-up question on Micron size -- (0+ / 0-)

      When looking for filter fabric, replacement filters, and/or masks, what do I need to look for in terms of size of particulates that are blocked?

  •  iirc: your filters protect the furnace (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, Lujane, CroneWit

    more than the occupants.
    Doesn't sound like landlord is replacing them on the proper schedule and cutting them down appears to be false economy on their part.
    I use the white pleated ones on my cold air returns...they are more expensive but last for 3 months.
    Maybe you can ask them to get you a small supply of those?

  •  Take a bit of the blue fiber (8+ / 0-)

    and try to burn it over a match or candle , if it burns its not fiberglass , glass does not burn . If it burns and smells like burning plastic , it plastic .

    "please love deeply...openly and genuinely." A. M. H.

    by indycam on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 02:36:09 PM PDT

  •  It seems those filters (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, CroneWit, Kevskos, cosette

    are sealed in a way. Once you cut them you are releasing the fibers. Find out by reading the label on it I guess if it is supposed to be cut, then measure the size you need and google it.

    Good luck, I suffered for two weeks in December with no heat because that was the best the landlord could do. My kitchen sink clogged Friday and they still have not come yet, the handyman lives downstairs. It seems landlords have a lot of leeway when it comes to making repairs. My research indicated they had 30 days to fix my heat.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. - Elbert Hubbard -9.62/-8.15

    by GustavMahler on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:26:11 PM PDT

  •  I would (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, Simplify, cosette, emmasnacker

    be moderately concerned.  As LS said the smaller particles would be more dangerous.  If the only stuff coming out is the size of the stuff you are sweeping up it probably is not a problem.

    Here are some sites:

    American Lung Association

    Air Filter Guide

    Healthy House Institute.  Mostly about insulation but does also talk about filters.  You may want to contact this organization for additional information.

    Great ad from a company selling air filters and their $2000 dollar fiberglass filter.  They don't actually sell one but say the damage from a fiberglass filter will kill your furnace.

    You might want to try and collect a sample.  Put a piece of tape, stick facing blowing air/ on a vent, remove after blower stops and store in plastic bag, do it several times. label and date.  Someone with a microscope could then look for smaller particles than you can see.

    "In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism" Marine Corp Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler

    by Kevskos on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:34:04 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the links, Kevskos (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kevskos, emmasnacker

      I had found the Lung Assoc, and I'm familiar with Healthy House but hadn't thought of them in relation to this.

      Your suggestion of taking a sample is interesting.  My town has a department that enforces Tenant-Landlord regulations, and they have been helpful from time to time.  I can't see them putting samples under a microscope, but I'll contact them.

      I do have some clear tape that doesn't pull up paint, and two of the vents (near blue-fluff deposits) are fairly accessible.  So I could put a strip of tape on one or two vents, in case that comes in handy.

  •  Fiberglass dust is no joke (4+ / 0-)

    The broken edges of fiberglass "cloth" break into microscopic toothpicks that both spread around and stick around. In the lungs, they can cause irritation health effects. Some people are more susceptible than others.

    From the data sheet, it looks like the filter is indeed made of fiberglass. That should never be cut down.

    Every surface in your apartment should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA exhaust filter, including ducts. All fabric surfaces should be vacuumed thoroughly, even the bottomside of the couch etc. The fibers get into fabrics and then can be resuspended when disturbed. The fibers in a washing machine tend to stick around and get into the next load of laundry—per the Illinois DPH link below, get the machine thoroughly rinsed out. If practicable, the cleaning should be done all in one go, so that fiber from something that hasn't been cleaned doesn't spread around again.

    If you know you're going to be disturbing a lot of fiber, a regular paper dust mask is only marginally helpful. Wear a properly fitted P95 filter mask or better.

    A medical consultation is a good idea, but you are also right to seek information elsewhere because medicine doesn't have all the answers and because it's a physical property issue. Warn your neighbors. As for a legal case, maybe. Links to information:
    Centers for Disease Control an Prevention
    Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    American Lung Association
    Illinois Department of Public Health (a state example)

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:38:59 PM PDT

    •  Remember fibreglass curtains? (4+ / 0-)

      They came with the apt we lived in once. A neighbor washed hers in her washing machine and the fibres were still in the machine for the next load. They got into the kids T-shirts and made them itch all over. What awful things to have, especially around kids.

      To thine ownself be true

      by Agathena on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:03:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for links & Suggestions, Simplify (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine

      You suggestions for remediation are very thorough, and go further than I had thought of --

      Every surface in your apartment should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA exhaust filter, including ducts. All fabric surfaces should be vacuumed thoroughly, even the bottomside of the couch etc. The fibers get into fabrics and then can be resuspended when disturbed. The fibers in a washing machine tend to stick around and get into the next load of laundry—per the Illinois DPH link below, get the machine thoroughly rinsed out. If practicable, the cleaning should be done all in one go, so that fiber from something that hasn't been cleaned doesn't spread around again.
      Not being snarky here, asking a genuine question -- Do you have some personal or professional experience in fiberglass remediation, that you are drawing on in that paragraph?  Or is that info at one of your links?  

      And, if this level of remediation is needed, do you know if it would be possible to legally require the Landlord to pay for the remediation and/or necessary equipment/supplies?

      For instance, I hadn't even thought of fabrics/furniture, although this was obvious as soon as I saw your mention of it.  Even if I do the work myself, I would need to have a HEPA vac, a pricey item for my $724/mo SocSec Retirement budget.

      •  craigslist (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CroneWit, Lady Libertine

        Hit up craigslist or a friend (not in your building) for a cheap vacuum, a bagless one or whatever, that either comes with or can accept a HEPA exhaust filter. You will want to go to an online store to buy a new filter to put in it, though.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:38:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I commented above that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        your landlord should put you up in a hotel while the crew he hires comes in, pros. With their masks and proper vacs.

        Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

        by emmasnacker on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 08:49:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The landlord (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Simplify, CroneWit

      should put her up in a hotel while the hazmat crew comes in to do all that cleaning!

      Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

      by emmasnacker on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 08:48:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In the meantime, wear those little white masks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they are good for filtering out visible dust particles.

    Are you experiencing any sinus problems?

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 03:53:05 PM PDT

  •  We use odd-sized filters which we buy online (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, CroneWit, cosette

    because they're usually not available at the store. Several big companies manufacture "safer" filters, available in many different sizes. We buy a case at a time.

  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Check your Kosmail

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 04:44:41 PM PDT

  •  I Use The Flanders EZ Flow Filters, Green Ones (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is this a furnace only for your apartment or the whole building?

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 09:24:16 PM PDT

  •  Take responsibility (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CroneWit, Roadbed Guy

    Measure the size filter you need and go buy one.  The type you describe are really cheap.  The pleated filters work better and cost a bit more.  Do it yourself.  The measurements are not precise.  Buy the closest size to the whole inch.   You can do it...if you want to.

    The one month thing is BS.  The replacement time totally depends on how much dirt is in the air for the filter to catch.  Look at the filter each month and replace it when it starts to get a blanket of dust.

    Any fiberglass dust off a filter, if any (and I doubt any came off a cut edge) is minuscule compared to installing fiberglass insulation in a house or making a fiberglass boat, bathtub, hot tub, etc.  don't worry.

  •  Get some 100% cotton cheesecloth... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's in craft stores, grocery stores around canning season in the fall when people are making canned goods or wrapping spices into a cheesecloth ball so the spice flavors come through but whatever's inside the cheesecloth ball can just be taken out of a kettle and tossed in the garbage, and it's found in places that sell Halloween decorations since it can be used to imitate gauzy spiderwebs for Halloween decorations.  I buy packages of it on sale after Halloween.

    Cut it to a size slightly larger than the heat vents.  Use package tape cut to the same length as each of the four sides and tape it to the inside of the heat vent.  Use one or two layers of cheesecloth; the holes are large enough to let air past it, but small enough to catch dust, pollen, and other particles.

    When a sufficient amount of time has passed, the cheesecloth is dirty, remove it, cut another one to size and tape that to the inside of the heat vent with package tape (scotch tape doesn't hold well, so you need the clear package tape that's used to seal boxes you send via snail mail).

    I'm also a person who can't deal with chemical stenches (OMG, chemical 'perfumes' just about lay me out - used to set my asthmatic mother off on a coughing jag in stores), and that includes polyester clothing and any products made of a petroleum base.  To my nose they all stink to high heaven.  Ergo, natural products made of 100% cotton work for me.

    Besides my homemade non-toxic 100% cotton filters made of cheesecloth, I also have a vacuum cleaner that has allergen filter bags so one way or another the air becomes breathable ... at least until neighbors start cooking with onions, peppers and other toxic things to which I'm allergic whose smells make their way into the heat vents and can give me migraines.

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:49:12 AM PDT

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