Washable vs. Replaceable Air Filters

The filter of any air conditioning unit has an essential function. It maintains the cleanliness and efficiency of AC parts such as blowers and evaporator coils.

The dual functions of air filters include preventing the air from being polluted and keeping other components unsoiled. Filters reduce indoor impurities significantly by reducing the intrusion of allergies and horrible stench. These small devices heap the dust and pollen powders that produce respiratory disorders or affect lung functions. The problem develops once filters get congested. Additional energy is required to drive air through the appliance. Blockage retards the process. The unit operates longer which leads to higher electricity consumption. Moreover, wasted energy generates pollution that adversely affects the environment.

Cleaning and Replacement

AC filters must be cleaned regularly. Replacement is necessary if the product breaks down. This makes sure that performance is unhampered and functions at an optimal level. Filters, which are not maintained correctly, decrease efficiency and life span of the cooling mechanism. Likewise, frequent replacement can affect the air conditioner negatively. Maintenance is needed at least once every month. However, this depends on the build-up of dirt in the unit.

Disposable filters are cheap. Regular replacement saves you money eventually because of energy savings. Cleaning of filters is easy. It will only take 15 minutes of your time. All you need is a rag, portable vacuum cleaner and hose fastened to a spigot. Vacuum the AC unit. Make sure that the power is turned off before you touch any part of the air conditioner. Open the panel door and detach the strainer from the standard air system.

Get the accurate measurements for disposable varieties so you can purchase the item from local hardware stores. If the filter is replaceable, remove it from the unit and spray with clean water. Do not use detergents because this will only cause the dirt to stick to the filters. Allow the contrivance to dry thoroughly before replacing. Follow the guide arrows carefully and check the guidebook to make sure that installation is correct. Air conditioning systems have filter upstream in the evaporator coil. You can see this in the grille or slots in the duct system looking like a folded paper filter. This mesh removes particles from the air stream to keep the unit clean and operating optimally.

In case the filter is not replaced or cleaned, the tendency of air movement is to go down which means that performance is below 100 percent. Besides, the filter then acts as a source of air pollution if the filter gets very dirty. The first problem is resolved by taking the filter out totally.

Nonetheless, fragments that the filter removes accumulates around the coil and causes it to malfunction. Therefore, buying a new filter will be more economical.

Standard Maintenance


Regular upkeep is needed for all models of air conditioning units. There can be a degeneration of components and the whole unit as well if this standard operating procedure is not followed. The fan and compressor are the most probable parts to depreciate right away. At the same time, it is crucial to be on the lookout for other problems that will cause the deterioration of your appliance. Take notice of possible leaks in the refrigerant. If this happens, it is important to mend the outflow and test the whole system as well. Keep in mind that the unit should not be under or over-charged.

Filters should be cleaned monthly just like evaporator and condenser coils which gather dirt in the process of day-to-day operations of these units. The evaporator coil should be examined at least annually and cleaned as required. External condenser coils should also be cleaned frequently. Take away all rubbish that collect around the metal fins. The fin comb can restore warped fins into their original form.

It is equally important to insulate air canals to preclude the unnecessary loss of cold and hot air before it reaches individual rooms in the house. This is more applicable for central air conditioning. You must not allow cool air to flow from supply duct ways and hot air from the attic leak into return pipes. This is a big waste of energy. Ducts must be kept sealed at all times so that the unit will run efficiently.

Purchasing Washable Filters


Purchasing air filters every now and then can be expensive. In fact, doing this on a regular basis is an additional expense and may not be needed at all. Disposable filters can also lead to other problems so reusable filters may be a better alternative.

  • For one, there will be no repeated trips to the supplier of air filters anymore. It is a safe approach compared to the usual filter made of paper.
  • Washable air filters are not hard to clean. It takes an amount of rinsing under running water. It is possible to wash this component as often as you want although the cleaning frequency should be a minimum of once every month. The average cost of the throwaway strainer is approximately $40. It normally lasts for one month. On the contrary, reusable models are priced at $70. In the long-term, you will save more money by opting for the washable varieties.
  • The washable product has the capacity to lessen the amount of allergenic substances, dust and smoke in the air by almost 95 percent. These implements are more effective due to static charge capacity.

The frequent concern regarding lifetime of filters is the kind of materials from which the products are fabricated. Certain filters are manufactured from charcoal while some are pleated filters. The pleated variety can eliminate more airborne impurities inside the house. The wavy fibers are responsible for effective filtration (40 percent) of unsafe dregs that hover in the air all the time.

However, these are more expensive compared to ordinary models and require replacement every quarter. Panel fiberglass filters are also affordable. However, these can only handle larger particles. The downside of this category is that the fiberglass compound can cause impairment of people’s respiratory systems. Health organizations warn consumers against the use of this filter because of health hazards.
Filters of air conditioners should be replaced every two or three months but the washable type can last longer. These reusable commodities can save you time and money. The next time you need to buy a filter, think about the upsides of getting one that will last for years. Given the proper care and maintenance, these items can go the full route. Upfront costs will be higher but it is a sensible investment. You can even order reusable filters from web-based vendors. These online suppliers normally provide free shipping and money-back warranty if the consumer is not pleased with the purchase.

The disadvantage of washable filters is the cleaning procedure which is quite cluttered. However, this is surpassed by the prospects of lifetime use. The bottom line is for consumers to mull over the benefits and drawbacks of disposability and reusability. Then, that is the time to decide which one is more appropriate. The general rule is if the indoor area is less than 2,000 square feet, long-term savings offered by reusability may not probably be substantial. In this case, the throwaway sieve is more convenient. The minimal extra cost has more merits for some homeowners.

Replaceable Filters


On the other end is the disposable filter which ironically performs at its worst when brand new and slowly becomes more efficient over time. Yet, energy consumption also goes up until the time when replacement is necessary. That is one vital point for the disposable filter. In terms of consistency, this model is hyped as more reliable compared to the reusable filter. Moreover, if these filters are not cleaned properly and reattached while wet, the propensity for bacteria to grow is higher. Again, that is an upside for the throwaway filter.

With regards to gaps between services, the washable filter can become congested fast. The disposable unit may be used until electricity becomes too high so you will be forced to get rid of it and buy a new one. After all, it does not matter if the filter is useless at the end of the life span. With regards to costs, you are compelled to purchase two sets of washable filters so you can use the spare item during cleaning schedules.

There is also a bigger risk of equipment failure and health effects for household owners. In this scenario, service and supply costs will surely go beyond the prices of equivalent disposable filters without taking into account increased costs connected to poor filtration brought about by reusable filters. Washable filters are cleaned with drinking water which is pricey and not an environmental practice. The reusable filter can have more resistance to airflow after each service. This in turn will increase electricity used up during the process of transmitting the air though the filter. In effect, the disposable product is friendlier to the environment.

Other AC Concerns

The AC unit is a highly delicate and complicated household appliance. Nonetheless, HVAC units are manufactured to withstand the harsh natural elements as well as various kinds of treatment. This equipment is hard-wearing but you must be detailed and careful about maintenance. The units require regular check-ups to function properly like other appliances. In this case, you need the services of competent air-con technicians.

Make sure that you look for the best service provider in your community. The technician should have the following attributes:

  • Several years of experience
  • License and accreditation
  • Knowledge of repair and maintenance procedures
  • Trustworthiness of the technician
  • Efficiency and patience
  • Fair charges or fees that will not really hurt your budget

The absence or lack of proper and regular maintenance can result in your air conditioning unit losing almost five percent of efficiency for every year that it is used. The good news is that you can recover this lost efficiency by carrying out maintenance on a regular basis. Research disclosed that constant check-ups can sustain up to 95% of the original operations. In short, you get back the cost of yearly service in terms of savings on your monthly electricity bills and reduce repair costs. Moreover, the unit that functions properly can be depended on to dehumidify the whole house.

Many reputable air conditioning repair technicians offer cost-effective packages for consumers. Service checks normally consist of making sure that condenser unit coils are clean; examining the compressor; applying grease on fan motors; scrutinizing the belts; inspecting the current pressure; and, monitoring temperatures based on manufacturers’ specifications. One of the essential items that you need to look over is the coolant level of the air conditioning equipment. A unit which is 10 percent low on cooling chemicals will need twice that amount for operations. It means that you will spend more for maintenance and repair expenses.

At the same time, there may be need for emergency appliance repair without any prior notice. This can be very difficult for consumers especially if you do not have any money ready for this situation. It may not be mandatory to call a technician immediately. Spend enough time to analyze the situation and determine the problem. Find out the actual damages to your appliance and see if the repair can be postponed for several hours or one more day. This will allow you to find someone competent and experienced but not very expensive.
Your trusted sources for capable AC unit technicians include family members, close friends, co-workers, professional associations, and websites. When you go through the sites of providers, see to it that you read the services, customer testimonials and company history. Find a way of verifying the credential of air-con technicians. Make sure that you request for at least three proposals and estimates. This will allow you to check each offer and make a comparison of rates. Once you have checked all these, you can call the technician to have the AC unit fixed.