Should you use washable furnace filters?

Should you use washable furnace filters?

In order to maintain good indoor air quality in the winter, you’ll need to replace your air filter frequently. That being said, some folks get tired of having to purchase these filters over and over again. And truth be told – when you buy enough of them, the cost can add up over time.

An alternative to having to buy disposable filters over and over again is something called a ‘washable furnace filter’. The name tells you everything you need to know. Instead of simply pitching your filter when it’s spent, you can wash it and reuse it immediately.

Like anything, however – any decision you make regarding your HVAC system should be made carefully. There are plenty of pros and cons to using washable furnace filters – and that’s what we’re here to discuss today. Here’s what you can look forward to – AND be wary of when you buy one.

The Pros:

You’ll save a lot of money! – While the cost of a washable filter is more upfront, the long range benefit is clear. These filters can last five year or longer if you take care of them and they quickly pay for themselves. One washable filter can last as long as 20 to 60 disposable filters do. That’s pretty easy math.

No need to stock up – When you buy furnace filters, you’re almost always buying multiples. Why? Because you need to change them once a month and you’ll always need to have some on-hand. Now, those frequent trips to the store and the stacks of air filters in your basement will be a thing of the past.

Reducing waste – Most disposable filters are a recycling nightmare. Filters are made of fiberglass, cardboard and metal. Sure, they can be recycled at your local center, but it’s a pain to do it. Washable filters aren’t much better, but you’re significantly decreasing the amount of waste you’re producing. If we can’t be perfect, we can at least be imperfect a whole lot less.

The Cons:

Not as efficient – While you can cut down on the amount of waste that you produce, washable filters are not quite as efficient to use as one would hope. They don’t catch quite as many baddies as your disposable filters would, so in the event you suffer from some sort of asthma, allergies or a chronic lung condition – you might want to stick to disposables.

More maintenance – When you use disposable filters, you simply pop one out and slide another one into place. When you have washable filters – you have to wash the filter. That means a lot of unpleasant experiences that include spraying the filter to dislodge dust and debris, waiting for it to dry, etc. You may want to keep a second filter on hand so you can make it a little bit more of an organized process.

Mold and mildew – Unfortunately, this is a big issue, especially when you’re the one doing the replacement and maintenance. This happens because people put filters back into place before they’re ready. And you all know what kind of havoc mold and mildew can do for your indoor air quality!

Air filters are a fickle thing – so weigh your options carefully before choosing. Washable furnace filters are a great alternative to the usual routine, but disposable filters may simply provide a more practical cost-benefit trade off in your life. Good luck!