What You Should Know About Washable Air Filters

What You Should Know About Washable Air FiltersTempting as it is to use washable air filters for your HVAC system, doing so may backfire if you’re goal is to save money. These filters may cost you more in lost efficiency and parts replacement than disposable filters could ever add up to.

What Filters Do

The primary function of an air filter is to keep dust from entering your HVAC system’s blower where it can cover components like the blower motor, electronics, the heat exchanger and evaporator coil. Dust covering these parts makes the system work harder to cool the air in the summer and warm it in the winter.

The most basic air filter keeps just the largest particles from entering the system. Finer dust particles and airborne particulates will pass through and eventually cover the components.

Filter Ratings

Filters are rated based on their ability to trap particles. Their MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) indicates the smallest particles they stop. The scale ranges from 1 to 16 for residential filtration.

The inexpensive fiberglass filters have ratings that range from 1 to 4 and are the least effective. Unfortunately, most washable air filters fall into this category, which is why they’re not recommended by most HVAC professionals. They won’t trap animal dander, pollen, dust mite waste, tiny dust particles, or mold spores.

A filter with a low MERV rating won’t improve indoor air quality that helps allergy and asthma sufferers. If they have a sensitivity to mold, a washable filter may even worsen their symptoms.

Any moisture that’s left behind in the filter serves as a growth trigger for mold inside the filter. It will be difficult to see and as it reproduces, it can send mold spores throughout the ductwork and into the air.

Your owner’s manual may specify the maximum rated filter to use with your system. If you’re looking for better air quality and dependable performance, it’s a good idea to stay with a higher rated filter rather than low-rated washable air filters.

To learn more, contact C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning. We provide trusted HVAC services for Middletown homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about washable air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Sonia Sorbi”

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