Washable vs Disposable Air Filters

One of the most commonly neglected maintenance items in your home is your air filter. These are simple to change out or clean and should be done an absolute minimum of once every six months. A clogged air filter leads to dirty air, low efficiency, and will make your entire HVAC unit work harder than it needs to in order to keep you comfortable. Ok, so you know you need to change or clean the filter, but which filter is right for your home? Some filters must be replaced while others can simply be cleaned. In this post, we’ll do a side-by-side comparison to help you decide which option is best for you.


Air filters can vary in their performance. A washable filter typically has a MERV rating of between 1 and 4. That means it will only catch large particles and things like soot. If you have a pet, the filter will not be able to eliminate pet dander. Other bacteria and viruses, as well as smoke, will not be effectively filtered out.

On the other hand, the MERV rating on disposable filters can be much higher, going as high as 16. That can help eliminate the tiniest particles in your air, including dust, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, and other allergens.


Washable filters need to be cleaned once a month. Once you’ve rinsed them, they should be completely dry before they are put back in place. A wet filter could result in mold or fungus forming then spreading throughout your home. Gross!

Disposable filters are just that – disposable. You throw out the old one and replace it with a new one.


Here’s where things get a little tricky. Washable filters can last several years, but cost about $100 each.

Disposable filters cost about $15 each but need to be changed regularly.


These simple comparisons can help you decide if a washable or disposable air filter is right for you. The HVAC experts at Darville can help! We can help you decide what’s best, replace your filters, and give your HVAC a full check. Call us at 432-580-9675 to schedule an appointment. Darville is the Higher Standard!

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