A dirty home air filter can result in health and economic problems, including increased
dangerous air particles, damaged HVAC units, and higher energy bills. To avoid these possible
consequences of dirty air filters, most filter manufacturers suggest that customers change their
air filters every 3 months. This is the problem. Many variables determine how fast an air filter
becomes dirty and a “one size fits all” approach does not take these into consideration. These
variables include time of year, number of pets and people in the home, location and age of the
home, and the age of the HVAC air handing unit.
Our solution, FilterDetect, is a device that will be able to alert the user of the proper time to
change their air filter based on how dirty the filter has become, not based on time. Unlike
other devices on the market, our device will be economical for the average homeowner and
work independently of the filter brand, filter size, and power of the HVAC system, providing a
much more accurate estimate of when a home air filter should be changed. Once the filter is
dirty enough to warrant a change, FilterDetect will alert the user via their smartphone that their
filter needs to be changed. Changing air filters on time improves energy efficiency of the HVAC
unit, saving the user money. FilterDetect will provide peace of mind by ensuring that the air is
being filtered effectively, and clean air is circulating throughout the customer's home.
You can't put a price on clean air. We began working on our project in May 2015, before the
Engineering Entrepreneur's Program class began in the Fall of 2015. Will Kitto, a cofounder of
the company, got the idea for our product, FilterDetect, in June 2015. Will was working at NC
Wildlife Resources Commission on NC State's Centennial Campus, and their building was
experiencing significant cooling problems. Through some troubleshooting, Will discovered that
the building had not changed their indoor air filters in over 10 years.
At the same time, both Dylan & I woke up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat when
our AC systems went out. Dylan's home air filters were dirty and were blocking the air flow in
the AC system, which caused his refrigerant coils to freeze up. In another home, I had the exact
same problem, which resulted in my house needing an entire new AC air handling unit. All of
these problems could have been solved by changing the air filters at the correct time.
Check out our feature in the sustainability section of the NCSU news