Can Furnace Filters Be Washed?

Have you ever wondered if furnace filters can be washed? It’s always nice to save a little money. Everyone has a few tricks up their sleeves to stretch their dollar and get the most out of what they have. For example, many people learn basic car repairs to avoid auto shop prices. Some individuals carpool on their way to work. Some people reuse their plastic baggies to avoid buying new ones.

However, there are some money-saving ideas that can actually cost more in the long run. Some individuals have even started washing their furnace filters to avoid buying new ones. This may lead you to ask, can furnace filters be washed?

The answer is mostly no. You may also find yourself in a position needing repairs or advanced maintenance to your furnace.

While select reusable furnace filters are washable, they’re clearly marked as such. Generally, most filters are not washable, usually listed along with their furnace filter ratings, and could lead to unfortunate consequences if attempted.

Curious why you shouldn’t wash your furnace filters? We’ve rounded up the top reasons why below:

Washing Can Damage The Furnace Filter

Did you know that when replacing a lightbulb, you shouldn’t touch the bulb because you can cause it to burn out faster? Similarly, handling a filter can damage its ability to properly filter contaminants. The washing, shaking, and drying process most people are using to wash their filters are damaging the fibers in the filter and decreasing how well it will work. This can lead to several other problems:

Decreased Furnace Efficiency

A clean, fresh furnace filter is one of the easiest ways to guarantee your furnace’s efficiency and air quality. Sometimes cleaning a disposable furnace filter will actually compound the dirt, dust, and other particles in the inner fibers. This will block airflow from reaching the furnace, causing it to work harder and draw more electricity to function properly. You’ll notice the difference in your rising utility bill. To learn more about how your furnace can function more efficiently and save money, check out our previous blog post.

Won’t Provide Necessary Protections To Your Furnace

Your filter’s job is keeping dirt, dust, pet dander, mold spores, and grease from entering the furnace and damaging the mechanical components. Damaging the filter will limit its ability to protect the furnace unit. If too many of these contaminants reach the furnace system, the cost of repairs and even replacing your furnace will be far more expensive than purchasing a new filter.

Replacing your filter with a fresh new filter will ultimately save your home from disaster. Particles that reach the furnace due to a damaged furnace filter can cause a fire within your heating system. Instead of replacing everything you own after a fire, it’s much easier to just buy a new furnace filter.

Mold Growth

A furnace filter is made to trap everything from dust to grease. Filters are not made to let anything out. While you can pour water and scrub the filter and make it look clean, the filter will trap a lot of the moisture inside. This can lead to the filter growing mold and rotting, which means it won’t filter the contaminants from your home. Unfortunately, you may not catch it quickly enough before your furnace blows mold spores throughout your home via your HVAC system.

Mold exposure can lead to a variety of health effects. Some people are more sensitive than others. However, it’s common to experience stuffy nose, red or itchy eyes, and even wheezing. It can trigger asthma attacks, fever, and even shortness of breath.

Most Furnace Filters Can Not Be Washed

Disposable furnace filters should not be washed and reused. The risk of damaging your furnace, starting a fire, or even infecting your family with mold exposure is not worth the small savings. It’s far better to purchase a new disposable furnace filter or invest in a reusable furnace filter.

J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling

If you tried to rewash your furnace filter and your furnace filter is running inefficiently or needs repairs, we’re here to help. J.A. Bertsch Heating & Cooling offers professional residential heating furnace repair services throughout Kootenai County. Our licensed furnace technicians cover all of North Idaho and our neighboring cities. For the most trusted heating furnace repair services in North Idaho call the professionals at 208-715-9694.

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