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Washable HVAC Air Filters Are They Worth it?

air filter
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Not many businesses and homeowners use washable AC filters. Rather than washing and reusing the same HVAC air filter, they opt to replace them every month. This can get expensive and contribute to waste. Each type of AC filter has its own benefits and drawbacks. Understanding how filters work and what they require can help you make the best decision for your individual circumstances.

Washable AC Filter Cost

Washable filters cost more than disposable filters. The larger one-time investment is a drawback for many people. However, if you replace your filter every month, those costs can far exceed the price of a reusable filter. While washable filters do not last forever, they can last for many years.

They Require Maintenance

Using a disposable filter is convenient. You can take it out, throw it away, and stick a new one in its place. Washable filters require regular cleaning. How often you need to clean your filter depends on how quickly dust and other particles acquire. But it is not as simple as rinsing it off and throwing it back in. AC filters cannot be replaced when they are wet. Drying the filter thoroughly is necessary to prevent bacteria growth. Using it while damp will reduce the life of your filter but can also pose unnecessary health risks.

Washable AC Filters Lose Efficiency Over Time

How well a washable filter performs will reduce over time. Even with proper cleaning, these filters lose the ability to capture all the particles they once did effectively. It’s not always possible to see when they aren’t working the way did before. Consumers should replace filters as recommended by the manufacturer. When a filter is not working properly, it can cause other issues with your HVAC system, resulting in repairs.

Not All Washable Filters Are Created Equal

There is more than one type of washable AC filter, some are more expensive but perform better. Most homes that use washable filters use mechanical HVAC filters.

Washable Mechanical HVAC Filters

Washable mechanical filters tend to trap more particles than disposable versions. Because of the material used and the way they are electrostatically charged, they are very efficient at filtering particles from the air.

Washable HEPA Filters

These filters are held to high standards and filter more particles than the mechanical versions. These are not as common in home settings and are often seen in medical environments. If you are interested in a HEPA filter, check to see if they are compatible with your HVAC system first.

How To Choose the Best AC Filter

Which AC filter you choose will depend on your needs and the needs of your HVAC system. If you want to filter out as many particles as possible, look for filters with the highest MERV ratings. These ratings indicate how well a filter will perform. Higher ratings are best for people with respiratory issues and allergies.

High-performance filters are not an option for everyone. Some HVAC systems cannot handle filters with very high MERV ratings. Trying to use these filters when they are not compatible can lead to problems with your HVAC system and increase energy costs. You will also need to consider the size of the filter and whether a washable or disposable option is best for your family.

Maintaining an Efficient AC System

Maintaining your HVAC system means more than just washing or replacing your AC filter. To keep your air clean and cool your home efficiently, your HVAC system needs regular maintenance.

Inspecting your system for safety, rinsing, and flushing the drain pan, and washing the coils are only a few of the steps necessary to ensure your system continues working properly.

Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric will provide a 20-point precision tune-up on your HVAC system. We can also test your air quality and provide solutions for airborne contaminants. Save yourself the trouble of costly repairs by scheduling an ac tune-up every year. Call us today at 1-800-475-1504 to book your AC service today.

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