Most of the filters used in HVAC system vents and cold air returns are made of cardboard and fiberglass. They are disposable air filters that must be replaced every one to three months during periods of intense operation. What do they do? Pretty much the same thing any other type of filter does, i.e., they catch unwanted materials and stop them from slowing down the system.
If you own an air conditioner, hopefully, you are aware of the fact that it has an air filter. This disposable device helps keep harmful allergens, dirt, and pollution from entering your home. The more you use your AC, the more dirt and airborne agents the device will trap. When it becomes completely clogged, your HVAC system will not work as well. After about a month of heavy use, a disposable model should be removed, discarded, and replaced with a new one.
Are Reusable Models Better?
Made of more durable materials like aluminum or steel, reusable air filters can be cleaned and replaced every one to three months. They are available in various dimensions and can fit a wide range of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system vents and cold air returns. A well-made one can easily be cleaned with either a vacuum cleaner or a garden hose. If the device is clogged and dirty, it is often best to turn the hose on it. Just remember it should be sprayed in the opposite direction of the airflow – that is, from the inside out.
While they do offer some obvious advantages, reusable models may not always be necessary. If, for example, you are only renting a home for a short time, disposable devices will save you money. Sold in multi-packs at most hardware and home improvement centers, they are quite a bit cheaper than reusable filters.
However, if you own a home or intend to live or work somewhere for over a year, reusable models make sense. There is absolutely no question that they will save you money in the long run. They may also save you big bucks on Kleenex and allergy medication since they are generally better at trapping airborne particles, especially the electrostatic models.
What Are They?
Electrostatic filters use special filtering materials that actually create a static charge when air passes through them. This charge causes airborne particles to be attracted to the material like a magnet. Whether dust, fungi, mold, or any other allergen or impurity, the average electrostatic model is said to be ten times more efficient than the standard disposable device. Many of the leading names claim to trap up to 94 percent of the dust and dirt that run through them. They will also pay for themselves in about a year.
What To Look For?
All of the top reusable models have sturdy metal frames that will stand the test of time. These parts can be used to replace disposable devices in your entire HVAC system, including your furnace, central heat, and AC. They should also come with a lifetime money-back guarantee.
Reusable air filters can save you time and money on HVAC maintenance and repair for many years to come.