Awww, that’s nasty

One of the fun things with living in a rental house, is that you make discoveries. We made one such discovery a week or so after moving in and firing up the furnace on the first brisk autumn morning. As savvy members of post-industrial America, both the wife and I knew that central heating units have filters, and like any filter, need replacement on occasion. This was a morsel of useful modern-day knowledge that was passed down to me perhaps by my parents, and filed away in the back of my brain for the distant eventuality that I’d be living someplace with forced air when I grew up. It’s the sort of trivial fact that can easily be forgotten, but just as quickly remembered when in the basement, when the heater or A/C kicks on, or when you move a new air filter aside while grabbing golf clubs or trying to find the power drill in the garage.

“Oh hey, I bet the air filter needs changing,” you think, and you change it. You like clean air; you know that when clogged it makes the heater run less efficiently, it’s just something that you do.

Well, the Ollinger Family had no such inkling…no such concept. Who are these wiley Ollingers, you ask? They are the previous renters; the folks who leave a drawer full of legal documents, work performance reviews, and don’t bother to change their address with the post office. They are the ones who’ve been enjoying this:

That there, is a furnace filter, 1 inch thick, with another full inch of the grossest gnarliest filth adhered to it. That filter has been in the furnace for yeeeaaaaars. Upon its removal, the central air system turned from a strained whistling hiss, into a flood of glorious radiant heat. In a tug of the arm, I probably cut my heating bill in half, supplying the poor furnace the precious air it craved.

That white filter beneath it in the picture…well that was sitting up against the furnace, wrapped in plastic and waiting its turn to shine. Who knows how long it had been there, whether the Ollinger’s had planned to make the switch and didn’t know how, whether the landlord brought it over with hopes of use…we may never know. What I do know though, is that it’s clearly the wrong filter, you can see the dimensions in the pic. When alI was said and done, I had to go to Home Depot and drop a couple bucks on a correct size filter. In the long run, $3 is worth clean air and lower heating bills, I’m sure of it 🙂

As for the lesson of this tale:

1. Go check or change your air filter, it’ll be fun 🙂

2. I think i need to write some sort of further expose on the Ollingers. A rich full tale of these folks may be one for the ages.