Can I Wash a Home Air Filter? - A Comprehensive Guide

To keep your home air clean and healthy, it's important to maintain your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system. The filter inside the HVAC unit removes harmful contaminants from the air and protects the system from dust and dirt that can hinder operation. But the question is, should you clean your home's air filters or is it better to replace them? We investigated the answer to this question and here's what we found. Before you begin, turn off the HVAC unit to prevent unfiltered air from circulating around your home while you clean.

To clean the HVAC filter, first locate the HVAC unit service panel and open it to find the filter. Some air filters are made to be cleaned, while others are disposable and need to be replaced. If you're not sure what type you have, a quick search for the brand on the internet will give you a clue; however, it's safe to assume that filters with cardboard frames aren't meant to be reused. You can clean the air filters in your car or home yourself, but keep in mind that hiring a professional to replace them for you reduces the chance of error.

Make sure the filter is compatible with cleaning; for example, disposable air filters should be changed, not cleaned, while permanent filters can be washable. Vacuuming is the quickest way to wash a reusable filter, although heavy dirt may require a wash. If the air cleaner requires a more thorough cleaning, fill the sink or a large bucket with a mixture of equal parts of hot water and distilled white vinegar. Clean the filter with running water, such as the sink or garden hose.

You can use a soft brush and mild detergent to remove sticky particles. Once this is done, shake off excess water to drain through the drain holes in the rack and reinstall the air cleaner to the system. The system air flow will completely dry the clean filter. You can clean an HVAC air filter instead of changing it. However, the decision to clean or replace your home filter may also depend on whether the item acquired cracks, voids, holes, or other types of disfigurement.

Proper cleaning of reusable air filters is important to maintaining critical airflow and extending the life of the air conditioning unit. You will save more money with a washable filter, even if it is more expensive upfront, this type of filter will pay for itself in the long run. One of the most important things you can do for your system is to schedule preventive maintenance in spring and fall, ahead of the seasons, when you rely on your central air system for round-the-clock comfort. Washable air filters work best for filtering particles that are visible or invisible to the naked eye; 0.5 microns or more. Finally, dry it with paper towels and allow it to finish air drying before reinstalling it, as moisture in the filter can cause mold growth. For best results, plan to clean your home's air filters approximately once a month and replace them approximately every six months.

You may also find it interesting to learn how to replace the air filter of a Lennox air conditioner. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.6 million people die each year from indoor air pollution. An HVAC air filter works to prevent dust, dirt, pollen, viruses, bacteria and contaminants from circulating throughout the house. To sum up, cleaning or replacing your home's air filters is an important part of maintaining your HVAC system and keeping your home's air clean and healthy.

Be sure to refer to the manufacturer's instructions to determine the best way to clean your air conditioner or oven filter.

Janette Tiotuico
Janette Tiotuico

Hipster-friendly pop culture enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble twitter trailblazer. Friendly music junkie. Wannabe food ninja. Typical internet fanatic.

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