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Facility Manager FAQ about air system efficiency monitors

We've detailed below the questions that frequently come up about air system efficiency monitors, the tools we offer and the solutions that they provide.

If the question you have isn't listed here, please be sure to Contact Us and let us know 

How can I benefit from installing FS-245 FILTERSCAN® WiFi Air Filter Monitor in the buildings I manage and subscribing to the AirFilterSentryTM Notification Service?

FS-245 FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor automatically alerts you, or anyone else you so designate, whenever an air filter becomes clogged and needs to be changed or serviced. The alerts are sent to any smart phone, table, or PC you designate. It also issues alerts if the filter is not serviced soon after the alert is issued. This provides you with a valuable tool for ensuring that your air filters are replaced at the right time – neither too early when they still have life left in them, or too late, when their condition will start to put a strain on the HVAC system and waste energy. All of this can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Furthermore, AirFilterSentry Plus Service provides you with on-demand reports of the remaining filter life on all the filters in your facilities as well as such statistics as elapsed time since each filter was replaced, and the state of batteries (if the battery-powered version is used). These reports are available on any internet-connected device to anyone you have given access to your AirFilterSentry account. These reports allow you to anticipate when your air filters will need servicing before an alarm is even triggered.

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. 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.

Do I need to install a FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitor for each air filter in my facility?

Yes, you need to install one monitor for each air handler and air filter. However, we offer volume discounts. Please contact us for pricing information.

What is the difference between an AirFilterSentry Pro and Pro+ account and an AirFilterSentry Plus account?

AirFilterSentry Pro and Pro+ are designed for HVAC contractors who want to be notified when their clients’ air filters need to be replaced or serviced, but who do not actually own the monitors. Pro and Pro+ accounts cannot be used to register a monitor in the AirFilterSentry system. You can only do that with a Basic or Plus account.

The building I manage has three air handlers, each with its own air filter. Do I need to obtain an AirFilterSentry account?

Yes you do in order to receive remote notifications.

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 (beep and flashing light) from the monitor. However, the flashing light may not be seen or the beeping heard if the monitor is installed in a closet, basement, or attic. The FS-242W has a wireless remove receiver that displays a flashing light and beeps whenever the monitor issues a clog 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 much less than that distance if the monitor and receiver are on different floors or if there are metal beams or other obstructions of the signal.

The FS-245 (WiFi) model also provides a local alert. But, in addition, it connects to the Internet through the user’s wireless Internet router. When used together with the AirFilterSentry Notification Service, it is able to send alerts via text or email to designated smartphones, tablets, PCs, or iMacs. In addition, the homeowner can log on to the website and see the air filter’s remaining life and the state of the batteries (assuming the battery version is installed).

I currently have FS-242 monitors installed in my building. Can I upgrade them 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 get 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. Four AA batteries are provided with your monitor. This model can also be powered from a wall outlet by using an optional (Model CA-360) 6VDC wall adaptor.

The FS-245-C is powered by a 15-24V AC/DC 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 using electrical conduit.

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 I use FILTERSCAN WiFi Air Filter Monitors without subscribing to the AirFilterSentry Notification Service?

Yes. But then the monitor can only issue local alerts, just like the FS-242, and you cannot get contacted remotely when a clog alert is issued.

How often do the batteries in the FS-245-B need to be replaced?

Battery life expectancy is one year. The good news is, with AirFilterSentry, the unit will tell you when the batteries should be replaced. 

Can I mount a 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. The Tube kit 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 or access point?

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

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.

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. 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.

What is a thermal anemometer?

A thermal anemometer (also called a Air Velocity Transducer or AVT) is an airflow sensor that responds to the volume of gas flowing through a chamber containing the sensor. The sensor has tips electrically heated above the ambient temperature. The air flowing through the chamber has a cooling effect on the tips. As the electrical resistance of most solids is dependent upon the temperature of the solid, a relationship can be obtained between the resistance of the heated tips and the flow velocity.

How does CleanAlert's FRADENPROBE® technology differ from traditional thermal anemometry?

Most hot wire anemometers use a fine wire heated many degrees above the ambient temperature. CleanAlert's unique technology allows the sensor to make accurate readings while only heating its tips a few degrees above the ambient temperature. Consequently, the construction of the FRADENPROBE does not include the fragile and costly metals that most thermal anemometers require.

What are the power requirements of the FRADENPROBE?

The FRADENPROBE has a very low power requirement, about 0.12 watts. In comparison, a 25 watt light bulb uses over 200 times the energy of the FRADENPROBE.

What makes FRADENPROBE different from other AVTs?

The difference is really in performance and cost. Accuracy (+-5% of reading 200-2500 FPM), rugged patented technology and linear analog or PWM digital output make this product a real stand out.

Do you offer volume discounts for the FRADENPROBE?

Yes. Call us with your quantities for the price.

Will SensorDock work with AVTs other than the Fradenprobe?

Yes, as long as the power specifications are the same.

Can you accommodate my company's special technical needs?

Our engineering staff will discuss your unique needs and design a customized solution. We shall also be available for any consultations you may need after installation of our products.