Your HVAC system air filter is responsible for trapping dirt, dust, pet dander, hair, pollen and other airborne particles so they don’t accumulate on sensitive system components. Given the filter’s important role, it’s vital to use the most efficient type available for your system and keep it clean.
If you’ve always used disposable filters but you’ve heard about washable air filters and you’re wondering if you should switch, here’s a look at how the two compare in some key areas.
Washable and disposable mechanical filters have different minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) ratings, which tells you their filtering capabilities:
- Washable HVAC air filters typically have MERV ratings from 1-4, so they’re only effective at capturing particles 10 microns and larger, which can include hair, lint, pollen and dust mites.
- Basic, throw-away flat-panel fiberglass filters have the same low 1-4 MERV ratings.
- Disposable pleated media filters offer MERV ratings from 5-13, so they can trap particles as small as one micron, such as mold spores, dust mite droppings and pet dander.
The main advantage of washable filters is that they’re reusable, but the trade off is you need to wash them monthly. Once the filter is clean, it needs to dry thoroughly before you can reuse it or you’re risking bacteria and mold growth inside the HVAC system. In comparison, there’s zero maintenance required with a disposable filter — you just throw it away when it gets dirty and install a fresh, clean filter.
With time and use, washable filters can get clogged with debris even if you’re cleaning them as required. As particles get trapped deep in the filter, airflow through the HVAC system can start to decline, which can cause a host of performance problems.
Washable air filters are designed to last for several years, but the downside is that they can cost considerably more than a quality disposable that provides better filtering capabilities.
For expert advice about whether washable air filters are the best choice for the HVAC system in your Peachtree City home, contact us today at Powers Heating & Air.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Sonia Sorbi”