Are washable electrostatic air filters good for my HVAC system?

June 8th, 2017

When it comes to deciding on the type of air filter to use in your home, one factor tends to play the largest role in decision making: cost. Every homeowner wants to save money wherever possible. Those looking for ways to save are excited to hear about Electrostatic or washable air filters. Although the concept is great and cost is relatively low, Electrostatic filters are not necessarily the best option for you home.

One positive washable filters have over pleated filters is they don't have to be replaced as often. You simply vacuum and rinse. They cost between 50 and 60 dollars--what you could easily spend on traditional filters in just a few months. This alone is enough to convince many homeowners that electrostatic filters are the way to go. Although the super low price is very appealing, they can lose their electrostatic charge over time and there are other important factors that can outweigh the cost benefits.

How Washable Air Filters Work

Electrostatic filters are composed of multiple layers of vented metal. As air molecules pass through the first layer, they become positively charged by the friction of the air on the metal. Dust and other pollutants then attach to the other layers as they pass through the filter toward your system.

4 Good Reasons Why Washable Filters Are The Wrong Choice

  1. Electrostatic filters rely on static electricity to operate and they can only filter out so much debris. Static electricity works well to filter out the smaller, lighter particles but when it comes to larger particles or mold spores, an electrostatic filter will not be as efficient as even a 1200 MPR filter.
  2. If someone in the house suffers from asthma or allergies it is better to opt for a high-filtration, replaceable filter rated at 1400 MPR.
  3. After electrostatically charged dust and other particles initially pass through the first layer of the filter, not all of them are caught by the other layers. But the escaping particles still remain positively charged and can stick to components in your a/c system or the walls of your duct work promoting mold growth.
  4. Think that cleaning a washable filter is as simple as a quick vacuum and rinse in the backyard? Not so. To properly clean the filter, it must be disassembled and each layer must be cleaned separately. More work than one might presume when purchasing the filter. Also, despite following the correct disassembly procedure, it may not always be cleaned properly, leaving your filter dirty even when you think it's clean.

Improper filtration can lead to high repair costs or system failure! Pleated air filters can filter more from your air, while putting less strain on your system. You may be paying more in the long run, but you'll rest easy knowing that your air is actually clean and that you aren't slowly harming your HVAC system.

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