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Contractor FAQ about air system efficiency monitors

How can I benefit from having my residential and light commercial clients purchase and install a FS-245 FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor?

First, you can benefit through our volume discounts. Call us at (888) 414-FLOW (3569) for more information about our commercial sales programs.

Second, you can install the monitor for your clients, either for a fee, or as part of your annual service/maintenance contract.

Third, the FS-245 is designed to send an air filter clog alert to a Smartphone (Android or iOS) or desktop or tablet (Mac or PC). This notification includes any HVAC contractor who has joined our AirFilterSentry Pro Network. Joining the Network is free and takes only a few minutes. When the filter clogs and needs replacing you will automatically get the call.

Fourth, if you upgrade from a Pro AirFilterSentry account (which is free) to the Pro+, you can get on-demand reports of the remaining filter life of every home whose owner has chosen you to receive clog alerts. That means you can actually anticipate when those air filters will need replacing and can better organize your service calls and lower your costs. Imagine the time savings that would be possible if you could consolidate service calls to one subdivision with one trip, instead of many.

How much does it cost to upgrade from a Pro to a Pro+ AirFilterSentry Account?

Please call Customer Service (888-414-3569) for any pricing questions.

How does the FS-242 FILTERSCAN Air Filter Monitor differ from the new FS-245 FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor?

The FS-242 (non-WiFi) provides a local alert (audible alarm and flashing light) from the monitor. However, homeowners may not see the flashing light or hear the alarm beeping if the monitor is installed in a closet, basement, or attic – which is why it is so often the case that HVAC systems are “out of sight, out of mind.”

Another option, the FS-242-BWR or -CWR has a wireless remote receiver that displays a flashing light and audible alarm whenever the monitor issues an alert. The receiver can be located anywhere it can receive the monitor’s signal, such as next to the thermostat. The receiver has to be less than 100 feet from the monitor in order to receive the wireless signal and may need to be positioned closer if the monitor and receiver are on different floors or if there are metal beams or other signal obstructions.

The FS-245 (WiFi) model has all of the features as its predecessor but has the ability --when used together with the AirFilterSentry Notification Service-- to send alerts via text or email to designated smartphones, tablets, PCs, or iMacs. In addition, with an AirFilterSentry Plus account, homeowners can log on to the AirFilterSentry website and view a real-time report to show the air filter’s remaining life and the state of the batteries (assuming the battery version is installed).

Can clients who purchased a FS-242 monitor upgrade to the new FS-245 WiFi model?

Unfortunately, no. Because of significant modifications to the printed circuit board inside the monitor as well as the software, the entire monitor has to be replaced in order to obtain the WiFi feature and its notification and reporting capabilities.

What is the difference between the B and the C models of the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor?

The FS-245-B is battery operated. The necessary four AA batteries are provided. This model can also be powered from a wall outlet by using an optional (Model CA-360) 6VDC wall adaptor.

The FS-245-C uses a 15-24V power source, usually from the heating or cooling system’s auxiliary power. This model should only be installed by a licensed electrician or HVAC contractor.

Can a homeowner use a FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor without subscribing to the AirFilterSentry Notification Service?

Yes. But then the monitor can only issue local alerts, just like the FS-242, and you, the contractor, cannot be contacted remotely when a clog alert is issued. AirFilterSentry Basic service is free and AirFilterSentry Plus service is free for the first year and [minimal as in Homeowner FAQ].

Suppose a homeowner has multiple HVAC systems, each with their own FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor. Will the AirFilterSentry Notification Service allow him or her to access all of the monitors using a single account?

Yes. They can register multiple monitors under a single account. Furthermore they can customize the alerts issued by each monitor so that they and you can distinguish them.

Does a homeowner have to install batteries if he or she powers the monitor from the optional AC power adapter?

No

How often does a homeowner need to change the batteries?

The good news is, with AirFilterSentry, the unit will tell homeowners when the batteries should be replaced. A good rule of thumb for battery life expectancy is six months.

Can a homeowner utilize both the AC Adapter and batteries for backup?

Yes, they can install batteries even though they also have an AC adapter installed. Such “backup” is unnecessary, however, because the monitor’s non-volatile memory stores all operating parameters in the event of a power failure. When power is restored, the operating parameters are read from memory and the monitor resets itself to the state it was in before the power was lost.

How does the conduit version of the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor mechanically connect to the HVAC auxiliary power supply?

There is a conduit connector knock-out located on the lower side of the monitor housing. The power cable is inserted through this hole and attached to two screws on the inside.

What voltage is acceptable to power the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor via the conduit?

Typically 24V AC/DC, although an input voltage as low as 15V DC is acceptable.

Can one mount the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor on the outside of a building?

No. It should not be directly exposed to the weather. However, our optional tube kit can be used in situations where either downstream or upstream installations are not possible.

What is the difference between an “upstream” and a “downstream” installation?

The monitor is “upstream” if it is located before the air filter and fan blower. It is “downstream” if it is located between the air filter and the fan blower.

What does it mean to install the Filterscan “differentially” across the air filter?

Such an installation requires the use of the optional Tube Kit, which consists of a plastic tube. One end of the tube is inserted over the sensor tube that protrudes from the front of the monitor. Two holes are drilled in the air duct or air handler. One hole is upstream of the air filter and one hole is downstream of the air filter (see the previous questions). The monitor is installed over one of the holes. The free end of the tube is then inserted into the other hole.

Can the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor be mounted on the supply side of the blower?

No. In order for it to work properly, the monitor should only be installed on a return side air duct, either upstream or downstream of the air filter or differentially across the air duct.

Can one install a FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor on a Variable Air Volume (VAV) heating or cooling system?

The Filterscan will operate with most residential VAV systems in production. NOTE: the monitor must be mounted downstream of the air filter if the VAV system is set to operate in constant torque mode.

What effect, if any, does opening or closing air vent registers have on the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor performance after it has been calibrated to a new air filter?

Any significant changes in system pressure caused by register changes or other factors will change the point at which the clog alert will occur. The greater the number of system registers, the less effect on the system’s pressure when one or two registers are changed and therefore the less effect on when the clog alert will occur. Regular changes to system registers could make the performance unpredictable.  

How far can the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor be mounted from the wireless router?

The range of the WiFi signal is similar to the range of your wireless devices (laptop, smart phone, etc.). However, obstacles such as walls between the router and monitor could decrease the device’s effective range. We recommend that you test whether the Filterscan monitor is within operable range of the router before you attach it to your customer’s heating or cooling system.

What can a homeowner do if he or she needs to install the monitor out of range of their wireless router?

The manufacturer of the router probably sells “repeaters.” These are small boxes that typically plug into an outlet and, essentially, become a new router antenna. By placing the repeater between the router and the FILTERSCAN, they may be able to bring the monitor within range of the router signal.

I have read that Internet-connected appliances can be hijacked by hackers and corrupted. Is that possible with the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor?

The short answer: No.

The long answer: The FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor only accepts commands in response to requests it makes to CleanAlert’s server. That server is protected by advanced firewalls and encryption. Furthermore, the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor has to identify itself with a unique serial number and matching MAC address in order for the server to accept information sent to it.

Can a FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor be connected to a WiFi Internet router or access point that does not have a WPS button?

Yes. The Installation Guide provides instructions for setting up your router so that the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor can connect to it without having to provide a password. You will need to have available the MAC address of the WiFi transmitter in each monitor you want to install. The MAC address can be found on the back of the monitor as well as the outside of the box the monitor came in. Finally, the FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor does not control any other systems in your building. A hacker could never gain access to them through the monitor.