The type of air filter that you choose has a direct impact on the overall performance of your HVAC system since it is responsible for trapping airborne particles that can cause harm to costly system components and your health.
If you’re one of the many homeowners who use disposable HVAC filters, you may be wondering if a washable filter is better for your home. Let’s find out!
- Disposable air filters should be changed every 30-60 days.
- Washable filters are more expensive but last much longer than disposable options.
- Washable air filters have a MERV rating of 1-4, which means they can capture particles that are larger than 10 microns including pollen, dust mites, and lint.
Different Types of Air Filters
To decide if a washable air filter is best for your home, we first have to discuss what types of air filters are available.
Disposable Fiberglass Air Filters
These traditional flat-panel filters feature fiberglass mesh that is stretched over a cardboard framework. The fiberglass mesh catches debris as air passes through.
Disposable fiberglass filters are the most common and affordable type of air filter, but they must be replaced at least every 30-60 days to maintain HVAC efficiency.
Washable Mechanical HVAC Air Filters
Washable or reusable filters can be rinsed or vacuumed clean to remove particle buildup. They are typically made out of woven polypropylene media and are electrostatically charged to capture the most particles.
Because they can be reused, washable air filters are more environmentally friendly than other filters, but they are more expensive.
Disposable Pleated Air Filters
Disposable pleated HVAC filters are single-use, just like their fiberglass counterparts, but they are made differently. Pleated filters are made out of pleated cotton or plastic fibers, and since there are several layers, there is more surface area to catch particles.
Remember, disposal pleated air filters cannot be washed or reused.
HEPA Air Filters
HEPA stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air.” These filters are highly effective at removing particles that are 0.3 microns or larger from the air. (That’s tiny!)
HEPA filters are most commonly used in medical settings like clinics, hospitals, and labs where clean air is extremely important. It is important to note that not all HVAC systems can handle high-density HEPA filters, and they can be quite expensive.
You can buy HEPA filters in washable or disposable options.
UV HVAC Filters
UV HVAC air filters are not made of fiberglass, cotton, or plastic. Instead, UV filters use ultraviolet light to eliminate airborne particles, including microorganisms like mold, bacteria, and viruses.
These kinds of filters are often used to supplement other types of air filtration systems.
Why Choose a Washable Air Filter?
Now that we have a basic understanding of the different types of HVAC air filters, we can now discuss the benefits of washable air filters.
Washable air filters are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to save money and reduce their impact on the environment. There are several benefits to using these kinds of air filters including:
#1. Energy Efficiency
Washable air filters have a MERV rating of 1-4, which means that the filter can capture particles that are larger than 10 microns. Pollen, dust mites, and lint are all 10 or more microns in size, so a washable filter will prevent these particles from circulating through your HVAC system.
When your system is free of debris, it has greater
efficiency and better performance.
#2. Environmental Impact
Since you are washing your air filter once every month or two to be reused again and again, you are lessening your impact on the environment. Some air filters can take a long time to break down in a landfill depending on what they are made out of.
A well-maintained washable HVAC filter can last 5-10 years before needing to be replaced. Think about how many disposable filters you might use in this timeframe! That is A LOT of savings!
Though washable air filters are more expensive to purchase than disposable options, their benefits far outweigh their cons.
Learn More > Types of Air Conditioner Filters for Your Home
Rinse, Reuse, Repeat!
It is clear that the benefits of washable air filters far outweigh the negatives. Not only are they more affordable in the long run, but they also improve air quality and help to prolong the life of your HVAC system. If you are looking for a way to improve your home’s air quality, consider investing in a washable air filter. P.S. And don’t forget about seasonal HVAC maintenance too!