Wondering if your High Point, NC furnace would be better off with a washable filter versus a disposable one? Is it a concern for the environment or long-term value that has you considering a washable filter? Or do you value time and convenience more? We’re providing some information to help you make an informed decision about what’s best for your home.

Washable Wins for the Environment

One of the main factors that lead homeowners to consider a washable air filter is that reusable filters are more environmentally friendly. Washable air filters can last five to 10 years or longer, with some makers claiming washable filters may outlive your HVAC system. Disposable air filters are meant to be replaced every one to three months. That means one washable air filter, conservatively, could replace between 20 and 60 disposable air filters. Imagine how much waste one disposable air filter keeps from piling up in a landfill!

Washable is Cheaper in the Long Run

Disposable air filters are definitely cheaper at the time of purchase, while washable furnace filters are a little more on the costly side. However, when you consider how many disposable air filters you will use over the same five or 10 years that one washable filter will last, the washable filter actually comes out costing you less money.

Are you willing to pay a little more now in order to save money in the long run? While regular professional maintenance is an important part of keeping your furnace healthy, a washable filter may be a smart investment.

Washable Requires More Effort

There’s no doubt that washable filters will require more effort than a disposable air filter. Like the traditional, disposable filters, the washable filters will become clogged with dust and debris, and will need to be cleaned routinely, once a month, to make sure your system continues to operate smoothly.

While washing the filter is more time consuming than replacing a disposable filter, washable filters are easy to clean in a bathtub, or shower. They can even be washed with a garden hose outside. No special skills, chemicals, or equipment is needed to clean your washable filter.

Added to the time it takes to thoroughly clean your filter, rather than simply replacing a filter, your filter also requires adequate time to dry. If your filter hasn’t dried completely when you put it back into your system, your filter may create a hospitable environment for biological growth that is then forced through your air ducts. Instead of filtering harmful particles out of the air, your filter puts them back in!

The benefit to the extra effort is the total control given to you. Sensitive homeowners can choose their preferred cleaning products and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what’s being pumped through your HVAC system. Allergy sufferers may wish to wash their filter more often than once per month, finding that their allergy symptoms improve.

What are Your Furnace Efficiency Needs?

Air filters are rated by their Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) on a scale of one to 16, with a one representing the least efficiency. Lower efficiency air filters are able to filter out larger dust particles and soot, but miss smaller particles.

Washable air filters are typically rated around a four, meaning that they’re able to filter some of the dust and debris from the air in your home, but they won’t be as good at catching smaller particles. Smaller particles like pet dander, smoke, bacteria, and some viruses will pass through the filter and remain in the air.

Keeping in mind the extra time that will be required to keep the washable filter clean, if the washable filter isn’t cleaned regularly, its efficiency will be reduced even further.

Disposable air filters are much more efficient at catching the tiniest particles, and their MERV ratings can be as high as 16. If filtering out as much as possible is necessary for your family, sticking with a disposable air filter may your best choice.

Washable furnace filters are a great choice for some homes. If you’re willing to put in the effort needed to keep it clean, are working toward reducing your impact on the environment, and don’t mind spending a little more now to save later, a washable furnace filter may be for you. If a higher MERV rating or convenience are a better fit for your home, disposable filters may be the way to go. For any additional help maintaining your furnace, please call Air Treatment, Inc. at (336) 790-3206.

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