When it comes to air filters, there are two main types: washable and disposable. Washable filters are a great option for those looking to save money, but they are not as effective as disposable filters when it comes to capturing microscopic particles. Disposable filters have higher MERV ratings and can filter out pet dander, bacteria, viruses, and smoke. Electrostatic filters are also an option, as they attract air pollutants through their opposing charges.
Washable air filters have a maximum MERV rating of 4, meaning they are not capable of removing dander or pet smoke from the air. This type of filter is only good at protecting against large particles such as dust. If you or someone in your home has allergies or asthma, a washable air filter isn't the right choice. Disposable air filters are much more efficient at trapping the smallest particles, and their MERV ratings can go as high as 16. However, reusable air filters don't perform better than low-quality products, measuring less than four on the MERV scale.
If you're willing to put in the effort to keep it clean, you're working to reduce your impact on the environment, and don't mind spending a little more now to save later, a washable oven filter may be what you need. Electrostatic filters, also known as washable oven filters, work by attracting air pollutants through their opposing charges. More particles are captured as the air passes through the filters. These filters can thicken with contaminants over time and need to be replaced or cleaned if they are washable. Otherwise, air flowing through these dirty filters can lead to poor indoor air quality. Filter manufacturers rate air filter effectiveness using a scale called the MERV rating table, which represents the minimum value of efficiency reports.
See the advantages and disadvantages of washable HVAC filters and how they compare to disposable filters. It's annoying to have to go to the hardware store every month or two and search through a variety of air filters until you find the right size.