An HVAC air filter is designed to remove dust, dirt, pollen, and pet hair from the air that is being pushed into a home from a central air conditioning system or furnace. To prolong the life of your HVAC system and improve your air quality, we recommend investing in a disposable or washable air filter for your house. There are many types of air filters available for sale on the market today. However, they are all engineered to filter different types of materials. To help you choose the correct filter for your home, we have summarized the differences and advantages of washable furnace filters vs disposable air filters.
Washable air filters are an excellent option for individuals that are looking to save money. However, this type of filter is only able to remove big particles from the air in your house. Since this type of filter includes a maximum MERV rating of 4, it is not able to remove pet dander or smoke from the air. If your spouse or children have allergies or asthma, a washable air filter is not the correct choice for your home.
The acronym MERV refers to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value of an air filter. This metric is designed to measure the effectiveness of various types of air filters on the market. MERV ratings will vary from 1 – 16. An air filter that features a higher rating is designed to remove the smallest types of contaminants from the air. On the other hand, an air filter with a low MERV rating is not able to remove as many pollutants from the indoor air.
When comparing washable air filters vs disposable filters, a disposable filter is able to remove smaller contaminants from the air in your house. The disposable air filters available for sale on the market feature a MERV classification of 16 or lower. While this type of filter is able to provide you with high-quality indoor air, it will need to be replaced every 3 months to avoid common air conditioner and furnace airflow issues.
Filter Lifespan & Maintenance Tasks
A washable AC filter includes a metal frame that is engineered to hold woven electrostatic fibers. The fibers in this type of air filter are able to remove dust and dirt from the air in your house. Washable air filters are a convenient option because they only need to be cleaned a couple of times each year.
On the other hand, the process of cleaning this type of furnace air filter is not always easy. Since a washable AC filter includes a variety of layers of electrostatic fibers, it may take a long period of time to remove dirt and dust from each layer. If you’re comparing the differences between washable air filters vs disposable options, an important variable to consider prior to purchasing a filter is maintenance.
There are two types of disposable filters for sale on the market. The first type of filter is developed utilizing fiberglass. Since fiberglass air filters are only designed with an average lifespan of 30 days, they require a large amount of maintenance. You should throw away a fiberglass filter that is over 30 days old and purchase a new one from your local hardware store. Fiberglass disposable AC filters are popular with homeowners because of their low price.
If you’re searching for a type of disposable air filter with enhanced durability and reliability, we recommend purchasing a pleated air filter. This type of furnace and AC filter includes a lifespan of 90 days. If you’re worried you may forget to replace a fiberglass air filter each month, a pleated disposable air filter may be a better option.
When comparing washable furnace filters vs disposable filters, you will notice that a washable filter is less harmful for the environment. In addition, this type of furnace and AC filter will help you save money in the long run since they include a lifespan between 5 to 6 years.
While the upfront price of a disposable pleated air filter may be less, this type of filter will need to be replaced every 3 months. Since the production and disposal of pleated filters can be harmful towards the environment, you may want to consider purchasing a washable furnace or AC filter.
What is a Good MERV Rating for My Home or Facility?
The type of filter you should purchase will be dependant on your allergies, asthma, and other types of preexisting conditions. Most types of residential furnace and AC filters include a MERV rating that is 12 or lower. Most people will not benefit from an air filter with a score that is higher than 12. On the other hand, hospitals and emergency centers should invest in air filters that feature a MERV classification of 16 or less. A hospital that performs surgies should not invest in an air filter with a MERC score that is below 13.
Types of Air Filters
If you’re reading about the differences between washable air filters and disposable models, you may have noticed that disposable filters are able to provide air that is safer and cleaner. Individuals with asthma or other types of respiratory issues should purchase a High Efficient Particulate Air Filter (HEPA). This type of disposable air filter is able to remove up to 99.97% of contaminants in the air.
Fiberglass Air Filters
The least effective type of disposable air filters are designed with fiberglass. This type of filter is mainly used to protect your furnace and air conditioning system from harmful dirt and dust. Since fiberglass filters are unable to eliminate pollutants from the air, they are not recommended for individuals with respiratory issues.
Pleated Air Filters
This type of furnace and AC filter is manufactured from cotton or polyester fabrics. Pleated air filters are engineered to remove dust and other contaminants from the air in your house.
Washable Air Filters
The main difference between washable furnace filters vs disposable is the upfront cost. While washable filters may be more expensive, they feature an extensive lifespan between 5 to 6 years. You will save money in the long run if you choose to purchase a washable air filter. In addition, this type of furnace or AC filter requires less maintenance since it only needs to be cleaned a couple of times on an annual basis.
A UV air filter is engineered to eliminate dangerous bacteria and viruses from the air as it is being pushed into your home. A disadvantage of this type of air filter includes inferior dust and dirt filtration. On the other hand, UV filters are able to remove harmful microorganisms from the air in your home.
HVAC Services Near You in Virginia
Do you need assistance replacing an air filter in your house? Our team of HVAC technicians and plumbers will discuss the benefits of washable furnace filters vs disposable options to help you find an option that aligns with your health requirements. Snell Heating & Air Conditioning provides dependable HVAC services to homes in areas of Virginia such as Arlington, Centreville, Alexandria, and Reston. Our HVAC options include furnace repair, air conditioning installation, furnace replacement, and air conditioning tune-ups. Give us a call by phone at (703) 543-9649 or book an appointment online to receive assistance. We have been providing HVAC services to residents in Virginia since 1972.