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filter MERV ratingYour air filter is one of the most important aspects of your HVAC system. A clean, quality filter will improve indoor air quality and improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system.

Since indoor air is generally more polluted than outdoor air, good air filter is essential. Helping remove chemicals from cleaners, pet dander, dust, allergens, an effective air filter can help improve your indoor space and help you breathe easier.

There are two basic categories of HVAC air filters – disposable and reusable. Here are some pros and cons of each category. Use this information to help you choose the type of perfect air filter for your home.

Disposable Air Filters

The most common type of HVAC filter, disposable filters, are designed for one-time use. You will need to replace these filters must regularly to maintain sufficient airflow. Over time, these filters will become clogged with dust, dirt, hair, and other debris.

Disposable air filters come in a variety of filtration levels. The more filtration power a filter has, the smaller the particles it will remove from your indoor air. Filtration is indicated by a MERV rating. MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value.” This number indicates how effectively the filter removes particles from the air as it passes through.

Most professional suggest replacing your disposable air filter monthly. Be sure to check with your system’s owner’s manual or an HVAC professional for specific requirements.

One of the biggest advantages of using a disposable air filter is the convenience. They require no special cleaning or washing. Simply pop out the old one and replace it with a brand new one.

Most disposable filters are typically composed of metal mesh, fiberglass filtration material, and a cardboard frame. Recycling these materials individually is not difficult. However, separating them can be a logistical nightmare for local recycling centers. Also, since fiberglass is non-biodegradable, it will take up space indefinitely in the local landfill.

Another drawback to conventional disposable filters is the cost. You will need to purchase replacement filters several times a year, which becomes expensive over time.

Reusable Air Filters

Reusable HVAC filters, although less common than their disposable counterparts, are growing in popularity. Rather than tossing these filters in the garbage when dirt and dust begins to build up, you simple was reusable filters and reuse them.

Reusable air filters cost more initially than disposable. However, after the upfront cost, the only investment is the time it takes to wash them. A reusable filter, when properly maintained will save you significant money over time.

With a reusable filter, you never have to worry about running to the hardware or home improvement store to buy a replacement. As long as a little dirt and dust doesn’t scare you, maintenance is as simple as flushing the filter with water and then allowing it to dry before replacing it. To ensure your reusable filter is sanitary, you can also a purchase a specialized filter cleaner that you can easily purchase online.

Reusable HVAC filters do require an amount of patience. Replacing the filter before it has had sufficient time to dry attract mold into your HVAC unit. This will affect your air quality, wreak havoc on your system, and could potentially cause health problems.

If you are the impatient sort, consider purchasing two reusable filters. Then simply alternate the filters, replacing with a dry one each time cleaning is required.

The Bottom Line

If you have concerns about indoor air quality, you may want to stick with a disposable HEPA filter. Reusable filters do little to combat cigarette smoke, pet dander, or cleaning chemicals. Consumers with allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivity may want to stay with high-quality disposable filters.

However, if saving money or going green are high on your list of priorities, a reusable HVAC filter may be exactly what you’ve been searching for.

If you have any questions about what type of HVAC filter is right for you, contact your local HVAC specialist for more details.