Advantages Vs. Disadvantages Of Washable HVAC Filters

image of a washable hvac air filter

Indoor air quality affects physical health so improving it is a must. HVAC filters can help but only if you can get the right ones and use them the proper way. There are two options: disposable filters and reusable filters. The first requires replacement every one to three months, depending on your home. The second can be washed and reused multiple times. In this article, we look into the advantages and disadvantages of the washable HVAC filter.

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The Importance Of High-Quality HVAC Filters

Indoor pollution can be just as bad as outdoor pollution. Our homes are not always the safe havens that we think they are because they can make us sick without realizing it. The air might be filled with pollen, dander, mold spores, dust, and other things that damage our lungs. Heating and cooling systems have air filters that can capture these particles. High-quality HVAC filters are able to block more of these pollutants compared to cheap options. They offer a greater level of protection from illness. They also maintain excellent HVAC system efficiency.

What Are Washable Electrostatic Air Filters?

Washable Electrostatic Air Filter

Electrostatic filters are like magnets that attract contaminants in the air because of opposite charges. They capture more particles as air flows through the filters. Over time, they might reach their saturation point after which they can no longer perform effectively. Particulate matter simply passes through such that indoor air quality plummets. If you had a disposable filter, this would be the time to take it out and get a new one. With washable filters, the filtration media can be cleaned and reused several times over the course of a few years.

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Advantages Of Washable HVAC Filters

1. Reusable Air Filters Are Eco-Friendly

HVAC air filter and eco-friendly

Environmentally-conscious individuals love these reusable filters because they can stick to one unit for about five years or so. This is equivalent to about 20 to 60 disposable filters with a lifespan of 1 to 3 months. Clearly, washing and reusing is better than mindless dumping into landfills.

2. Save Money

Washable filters may be more expensive but their ability to last for a long time makes them worth the investment. You still save money in the long run since you only need to purchase once every 5 to 10 years instead of once a month.

3. Washable Air Filters Offer Better Convenience

image of a family with indoor air quality

With washable units, there is no need to run to the store to purchase a replacement every time you see a clogged filter. Just remove it, wash it, dry it, and use it again. The process gets easier and faster the more you do it.

4. Electrostatic Filters Can Save Time

Filters come in different types, ratings, and sizes. If you fail to find the right size, then it might not fit into the slot or it might not be as effective as you hoped it would be. Electrostatic filters free you from this problem by lasting for as long as the furnace or air conditioner itself.

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Disadvantages Of Washable HVAC Filters

1. Electrostatic Filters Are More Expensive

dollar signs depicting expensive reusable hvac air filter

If you have a tight budget, then disposable filters might be tempting to purchase since they cost so much less per piece than washable units. You have to think long-term to appreciate the savings from the latter.

2. Reusable Filters May Not Improve Home Air Quality

The MERV rating is a measure of a filter’s effectiveness at catching airborne particles. Higher is better in this case. Unfortunately, reusable filters tend to reach only as high as MERV 4 whereas disposables can go up to MERV 12.

3. Reusable Filters Can Potentially Attract Mold

image of mold on an hvac air filter

Since you need to wash reusable filters, they will be wet for a while as they dry. This will prevent you from using your HVAC system in the meantime but do not get impatient. Reinstalling filters when moist can lead to mold growth, causing poor indoor air quality.

4. Electrostatic Filters Are Not Effective Against Some Contaminants

Although electrostatic filters are effective in attracting pollen, dust, and carpet fibers, they don’t perform as well with smaller particles. Contaminants like mold spores and bacteria can still pass through to the detriment of people’s health.

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How To Care For A Washable HVAC Filter

Whichever filter you end up choosing, make sure that you perform suitable maintenance processes. It’s easier with disposable filters since you just throw away the old and stick in a new one. When it comes to washable filters, you need to be more careful since you want to stretch its lifespan. Use running water to get rid of dirt and other residues. Pressurized water is more effective so use a sprayer if you can. Allow the wet filter to air dry completely to prevent mold growth.

Other High-Performing Air Filter Options

disposable hvac air filters

Note that there are options outside of the filter types discussed. If you feel that electrostatic units are lacking in performance, then consider high-efficiency media filters and electronic air filters. They work in different ways but they are both considered as premium options because of their incredible ability to remove nearly all contaminants from the air. With these units, homeowners can lower the risk of allergies, asthma attacks, and similar respiratory tract issues. They have reasonable prices and a long service life.

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Homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to air filters. The right choice depends on a person’s priorities which may include air quality, household budget, ease of use, and unit longevity. Consult an HVAC technician for assistance when selecting an air filter for your home.


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McAllister EnergyMcAllister Energy offers superior heating and cooling services in Camden County, New Jersey. We hire the best-certified technicians who can provide you with excellent HVAC tune-ups, repairs, installations, and replacements. Each of our techs has the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

McAllister Energy guarantees the most competitive heating and cooling service costs in the area. Our maintenance services can improve your comfort, increase your energy efficiency while reducing your home cooling costs. If you happen to need an HVAC repair or replacement system, we can recommend the best one for your home while staying within your budget. We back all of our work with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. To schedule a service appointment, give McAllister Energy a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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