Should I Invest in Washable or Disposable Air Filters for my Furnace?
If you are asking yourself or your HVAC technician this question, you have come to the right place. At Pacific Aire Inc., it is our goal to help you get to know your HVAC system better and the learn pros and cons of investing in reusable air filters for your home or disposable ones.
Indoor Air Quality in Southern California
As you may know, poor indoor air quality can adversely affect the health of your family. We talk more about that in our recent blog post, how your HVAC system contributes to your homes indoor air quality. Although improvements in home insulation, duct repair or replacement contribute to energy savings and help prevent drafts, there are simple and effective ways you can control your indoor air quality. If you live in Southern California, you know we are facing an air quality crisis that is larger than air filters. However, at Pac Aire, we are dedicated to giving you all of the home air quality information you deserve.
If you wish to improve the air quality inside your home, you can either let air from the outdoors come in or use an air cleaning device. If you opt for the latter, you can choose either an electronic air cleaner or a mechanical air filter. These are often installed when you install a new HVAC system and can also be refereed to as air scrubbers. Hospitals use them to sterilize the environment, however homeowners are installing them for health benefits as well.
Furnace air filters are made of porous air membranes that allow air to pass through it while trapping indoor air pollutants like pollens, pet dander and dust mites.
If you are like most people, you don’t give much thought to the type of air filter you buy for your furnace. However, we encourage you to pay attention the next time you are buying furnace air filters, One question you should ask yourself is: Which should you choose, washable or disposable air filters for my furnace? Each option has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages that you need to take into account before making a final decision. Here’s a brief glimpse of these.
Washable Furnace Filters
Washable filters eliminate the need to constantly replace your furnace’s air filter. These filters can be used for a long period of time—up to five years—when cleaned and maintained properly and regularly. Although these air filters have a high upfront cost, you can end up saving more money over time. You will have run through a lot of disposable filters in the period of five years compared to just one washable air filter. There are many washable furnace filter brands and on the market, and prices can vary. Keep in mind, you will pay a little more for a furnace filter that is ghoing to last longer, but save money over time.
One of the downsides of using washable furnace filters is, they do not do a great job of filtering smaller particles like cigar smoke and pet dander. So, if you smokie in your home, or have pets that shed quite a bit, disposable filters might be the way to go. Keep in mind, with pets in the home, you are likely to need to change your furnace filter more often than the petless homeowner.
Furthermore, with washable furnace filters, you have to make sure that these are completely dry before putting them back again. Otherwise, a damp filter can attract molds. While in the long run washable filters are more environmentally friendly, that benefit is true when you wash them regularly and carefuly put them back in once it is dry.
Disposable Furnace Filters
Disposable air filters, on the other hand, boast of a better Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating over their washable counterparts. This means that these filters do a good job of filtering dust particles and can help improve the efficiency of your system. Quality Air Filters does a good job of explaining MERV ratings on their air filter guide.
Disposable air filters also require less time and effort toward maintenance. Washable air filters need to be cleaned and dried at least once a month. Disposable filters, on the other hand, can be replaced every three months.
Ultimately your HVAC system will perform just as well with either type of filter, however, it all depends on your care and regular attention. If you have any questions about your furnace filters, be sure to ask your local HVAC company.