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PROs and CONs of Washable Air Filters

by VitalStorm Content on March 22, 2019

washable air filters

If you’ve always used disposable air filters, you are probably used to simply throwing them away after 30 or 90 days to keep your ducts and your home free from airborne pollutants.

But there is an environmentally friendly alternative: washable air filters. These filters are removed, washed, and reused once per month to cut back on paper and plastic consumption.

If you’ve seen or heard about washable air filters, you might be curious whether or not they are worth your time and money. At Blue Flame, our expert HVAC technicians have worked with all kinds of air filtration technology. Here are the PROs and CONs of washable air filters from our team.

PROs of Washable Air Filters

  • They are cost-effective.

While you will pay more upfront for a washable air filter, it can last for years. That means it will save you money in the long run that you would have spent on packages of replacement disposable filters.

  • They are environmentally friendly.

Since washable filters last so long, they are ideal for environmentally conscious households. Instead of throwing away 12 disposable filters every year, you will simply wash your reusable one.

  • They can save you time.

If you run out of disposable air filters at home, that means a trip to the hardware store to hunt down new ones in the exact type and size your need. A washable air filter is always readily on hand for you to clean.

CONs of Washable Air Filters

  • They can be high maintenance.

While replacing a regular disposable filter is relatively simple, washing a reusable one takes a little bit more time and effort. You must clean the washable filter with water every month, and must let it dry completely before you replace it to prevent mold and mildew build up within your ducts.

  • Their performance is limited.

While the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating for disposable filters ranges 1 – 16, washable filters only have MERV ratings from 1 – 4. That means they will be less effective at trapping more finite airborne particles from your indoor air. While you could use them in tandem with more advanced air purification technology, this will cost more than simply installing a disposable filter with a high MERV rating.

Are washable air filters right for you?

While there are advantages and disadvantages to both types of air filters, we typically recommend sticking with disposable ones. The best MERV range for homeowners is 7 – 12, because filters with higher MERV ratings can trap pet dander, smoke, hairspray, and other airborne contaminants.

If you have questions about choosing the right air filter for your HVAC system, or if you are interested in additional air purification technology to improve indoor air quality, our team can help. Give us a call at Blue Flame today!

At Blue Flame, we are committed to an exceptional and eco-friendly experience every time you use our heating, air conditioning, and electrical services. Call us at (206) 388-5667 and speak to a member of our team.