Permanent Washable Filters

Changing the Filters

Every homeowner and business owner knows the air filters in the HVAC system are supposed to be changed based on the manufacturers suggestion, the weather and atmospheric conditions of your location, and the workload required of your system.

Every homeowner also knows that doing this on a consistent basis is a kind of maintenance that is sometimes allowed to take a back seat to oh….I don’t know….everything. Then, when the HVAC system fails, a part needs replacing, or you just discover one summer your home is not very comfortable, you hear your maintenance man say, “Should have changed the filters more often.”

Well, here is some information that might help you in your battle to maintain your HVAC system and keep that energy bill down to a minimum.

Everyone agrees you should change the HVAC filter on a regular basis, but there doesn’t appear to be a general consensus on what kind of filter to use. The filter serves two primary purposes. It must improve the indoor air quality of your dwelling and it must also protect the mechanical equipment and help prevent break downs or inefficiency.


A washable and permanent filter is going to cost more than other kinds of filters.

It is also “high maintenance” as it will require cleaning with water, most likely every month. In addition, you will save yourself the possible buildup of mold and mildew in your system by letting the filter dry completely before reinstalling. This means you will have to take the time to let it dry after cleaning, which sometimes eats into a busy life schedule. In addition, you may decide to buy a second filter to take the place of the wet one and this will drive up the initial expenditure.

Performance is limited with a washable filter. An air filter’s performance in trapping particulate matter is expressed in a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. The MERV for a filter can range from 1 to 16. Washable filters measure in at a MERV rating of 1 to 4. This makes them effective with large particulate matter such as dust and soot. However, they are not consistently effective with matter such as pet dander, cigar/cigarette smoke, or hair spray.


The most obvious positive in regard to washable/permanent filters is they are environmentally friendly. Some of these kinds of filters can last 5 or more years if cleaned regularly and completely. If other kinds of filters are used, then the constant demand will keep driving the production of them, and that market demand will put a burden on human and natural resources. With the use of a permanent filter, the demand for production is lowered and results in a savings of the earth’s resources.

Secondly, permanent filters will save you money and time. You will not have to store boxes of filters and you will not have to make a run to your supplier during the year to buy more filters. You may spend more up front, but this kind of filter will save you money, over time.


Washable permanent filters can be convenient and cost-effective over time. However, the negatives outweigh the pros regarding the effectiveness of permanent filters for your home HVAC system.