Are Washable Furnace Filters A Good Idea?

Homeowners who are tired of changing out disposable furnace filters every few months might be interested in learning about washable furnace filters as a longer term option. There are many benefits to using a washable furnace filter, but there are also a few downsides that you should be aware of before you run out and make your purchase.

Environmental Impact

One of the biggest reasons that people want to convert to washable furnace filters is that they are more environmentally friendly than their disposable predecessors. Since these filters can be rewashed over and over they are known to last up to five years. Considering most disposable filters only last three months, this is a huge amount of waste being saved from the landfill.

Cost

Compared to disposable filters, washable furnace filters are relatively more expensive. Again, this is a result of the stronger materials that are made to last for years to come. Where a disposable filter may only cost you a few dollars a quarter to replace, a washable filter will definitely be more expensive. However, that one time expense is still cheaper than the cost of buying disposables on a regular basis. 

Maintenance

While washable filters do offer a more cost effective and environmentally friendly option, there is a little more work involved in the keeping a washable filter healthy. These filters can get clogged over time, just like a traditional filter, so you will need to make sure you are washing them once a month to keep your system running efficiently. A thorough cleaning takes some time, so the maintenance on these filters is a little bit higher than what you would expect from a simple pull and replace filter. In addition, it is extremely important that washable filters are left to dry completely before they are placed back in the furnace to prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which would then be forced through your air ducts.

Efficiency

All furnace filters are rated on a scale of one to sixteen by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. A score closer to one indicates a low efficiency filter, while a score closer to sixteen indicates high efficiency. In order for washable filters to be easily cleaned and reused, they tend to have a lower efficiency rating than disposables, around a four. They are designed to catch large dust and soot particles, but are often not enough to stave off pet dander and small bacteria in the air. The overall efficiency can also be reduced if the filter goes too long without being cleaned, which will further reduce the effectiveness of the system.

Choosing to use washable furnace filters may save you money in the long run and reduce the amount of waste you are producing by heating your home. However, owners of reusable filters must be vigilant about keeping them clean and be aware of the limitations that a washable filter poses on their system.

For more information about which washable furnace filters or disposable filters are best for your home, contact Climate Experts today for your consultation and a quote.

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