Note: As an amazon associate I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases if you click to amazon from my site and choose to make a purchase.You can read my complete affiliate disclosure for more details
Can You Clean A Disposable Furnace Filter?
A disposable furnace filter is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly option to protect your home from the furnace filter you must replace each month.
Filters of this type typically comprise paper and foam material.
You have to throw it away after one use. Soaking filters in water can compromise the integrity of the filter, which then may not work as expected and could cause your furnace to break down. Also, soaking a filter can introduce mold, bacteria, or other pollutants into your home.
To dispose of a disposable furnace filter, you can pour it into a metal trash bin, empty bag, or drop it in the garbage. The city may charge the disposal fee.
However, you can contact the manufacturer for instructions on properly disposing of disposable furnace filters.
There are a few reusable filters, but these are for permanent installations, and one cannot typically find them in housing.
To clean a reusable filter, you can vacuum the filter clean with a wet/dry vac or power brush (as long as it doesn’t exceed the manufacturer’s maximum PSI, as outlined in the product manual) and rinse it under clean water.
If you need to wash a reusable furnace filter, you can use soap and water or chlorine bleach (1/4 cup per gallon of water).
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions if washing, then rinse thoroughly under clean water.
How Do You Clean A Reusable Furnace Filter?
Here is how you can clean a reusable furnace filter.
There are a few cleaning methods for your filter, but the best and easiest method is to fill up a sink with water, add one or two drops of dish soap and soak.
Swish the filter in the soapy water gently, and any heavy dirt will begin breaking off.
Rinse it out thoroughly so that all traces of soap are gone, then leave your filter to air dry on a towel or hang it over an indoor rack facing downward, like clothing.
This method requires no actual scrubbing and does not scratch the filter.
Another method is to rinse the filter in a sink with cool water for about 30 minutes. If you have time, soak it in soapy water overnight, then rinse it out thoroughly to ensure all soap residue is gone.
Hang or lay flat to dry. This method is helpful if multiple filters are in use since you can put them all into the sink at once. These methods will not scratch the filter and won’t do any damage.
Sometimes the easiest method is to run the filter under the water faucet, letting the water run through it for several minutes.
If you are in a hurry and can’t wait to dry it, use a towel to dry it off as much as possible, then hang or lay flat to finish drying.
Can I Clean My Air Filter Instead Of Replacing It?
Yes. You can clean your air filter rather than replace it. However, if you use your air conditioning or heating more than four hours a day, it’s recommended to change the filter every 1-2 months.
The cost of replacing an air filter is less than $10 and can be done in just minutes. Keep in mind that dirty filters restrict airflow, thus making your HVAC system work harder to cool or warm your home.
If you have a central air conditioner with a grille on each floor of your building and an individual AC unit on each floor–i.e., a multi-zoned HVAC system–you might want to clean your filters every 3 months to avoid clogging and reduce energy usage.
Can You Wash Filtrete Filters?
Yes. You can wash Filtrete filters. Here is a step-by-step guide to how you can clean your Filtrete filters.
Turn off the Filtrete system.
- Put on protective gloves and goggles, if desired.
- Place an old towel down on the floor and open your filters (both filters will open).
- Fill a bucket with cold tap water and add two cups of white vinegar to it – this helps to get rid of some of the chlorine in your tap water which can discolor your filters over time.
- Using a garbage bag or old towel (towel to avoid spills on the floor.), put the opened-up filter on top of the bucket, and gently set it on its side to sit in the vinegar solution.
- Leave it there for 24-48 hours.
- Remove your old filter and rinse with fresh water (you may have some discoloration, but make sure you rinse well). If you are like me and think that is a silly step, skip it.
- Dry it off (you can lay it flat to dry) and place it back in your filtrate
Can You Wash And Reuse HEPA Filters?
Yes. You can wash and reuse HEPA filters to use them for much longer than a single use. Miele’s Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter lasts up to six months, and you can wash it easily.
Remove the Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter from your vacuum cleaner, rinse it with clean water, and dry it with a rag. The Miele cleaning brush is also great for removing stubborn dirt in hard-to-reach areas.
When your Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter needs replacement, I recommend replacing it with a new one. To do this, turn off your vacuum cleaner and unplug it.
Then remove the Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter from the bottom of your vacuum cleaner and place it into a bag or container.
To install a new Miele Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter, replace the paper on top of the plastic by gently peeling it back and inserting it into the slot. Then get the plastic cover out of the bottom of your vacuum cleaner.
When it is time to clean your vacuum cleaner, place it into a bag or container with the Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter and close it up with a twist tie or tape.
Then either take it to the closest Miele Authorized Service Partner or throw the vacuum cleaner and Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter into your washing machine.
Wash the entire vacuum cleaner with warm water, and when it is completely clean, use your vacuum cleaner more than usual.
When washing your vacuum cleaner, remove the Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter from the bag or container.
Then use a damp cloth to wipe your vacuum cleaner and make sure that you remove all the dirt. Then rinse the Miele cleaning brush and dry it with a cloth.
Replace the Active Air Clean 2 HEPA filter when your vacuum cleaner is completely dry.
Then place the bag or container back into your vacuum cleaner and seal it with a twist tie or tape. Now you’re ready to use your vacuum cleaner for many more years.
Can I Put Two Filters In My Furnace?
No. I do not recommend that you install two filters in your furnace. A forced-air heating system does not move in and out of the home; it only moves into and out of the registers.
This means that two filters will only allow some of your air to pass through, leaving room for dampness or other contaminants.
The heat exchanger inside the furnace can’t clean 2X as much air without compromising its efficiency.
You only need a second filter if you have a cold air return. The furnace blows warm air through the vents to heat the home.
If you don’t want this, you may opt for an under-the-floor heating system. Here, one filter will suffice.
If you need more help with this matter, ask a professional HVAC service provider what your options are.
Do I Need Both A Furnace Filter And A Return Air Grill Filter?
Yes. The furnace filter is just a big metal sheet that sits on top of the heating and cooling duct system to catch unwanted particles before making it into your home.
The furnace filter catches dust and pollen, so you’re missing some significant benefits if you only have one installed in your house.
Why does one need a return air grill filter too?
The return air grill filter is right where the air comes back into your home. That’s right; it’s in the ceiling above your furnace.
The ceiling fan and light you have in that room also get their airflow from the exact location, and they both get dirty much more quickly when there isn’t an active return air grill filter installed.
A clean return air grill filter can help reduce humidity and improve the comfort of your home. As you can see, it’s crucial to have both filters in place.
Are Carbon-Activated Filters Washable?
Yes. You can wash your carbon filters in a washing machine on a delicate cycle. Take out the carbon and add a few of your towels so no particulates from the tank go into the washing machine.
Rinse very well in cold running water and if you have an extra 10 minutes, dry them outside with no sun exposure (the sun will evaporate the carbon).
If you must dry them inside, use indirect sunlight for a couple of minutes at a time.
Before washing, remove both o-rings connecting the carbon to the canister or To-Go Tank. Simply hand-tighten each onto a new 1″ ID vinyl hose.
Be sure to replace them once you put your carbon back together. You don’t want any leaks with these kits that have o-rings.
How long will my carbon filter last after washing?
This depends on your water temperature. A cold water wash will preserve a carbon longer than a hot water wash. One can use these methods to determine the “life” of their carbon:
- Open up the plastic bag, put it in a cup (or pour it out and throw away the cup), and boil it for 2 minutes until it gets red hot. If it does not smoke, your filter is good for however long you want to use it.
- Insert it in the microwave for 2 minutes; if it does not smoke, your filter is good for however long you want to use it.
- If you have a fish tank with plants in it, let the carbon run through the tank on a continuous cycle, and after a few weeks, stop periodically and smell your tank water.
If there is no ammonia odor or other displeasing smells, throw away your carbon. It has done its job, and you should throw it out at this point.
If you don’t want to use your carbon, let it dry, throw it away and use a new one.
It is not practical to store it for an extended period because of the possibility of growth from the air and possibly putting something into your tank that you do not want.
Can I Use A MERV 13 Filter In My Furnace?
Yes. MERV 13 filters are an alternative to an HVAC filter. MERV 13 filters are unlikely to trap particles while drawn through the air.
They won’t remove particles from the conditioned air as it blows into your home or office space.
On the other hand, MERV 16 and MERV 20 filters also remove particles from the conditioned air.
It’s an important safety measure for allergy sufferers who need protection against allergens like dust mites and pet dander.
Additionally, MERV 13 filters are typically the least expensive of all the filters available on the market. They come in various sizes.
However, you can only use those with a size less than 4 inches for small commercial applications like offices or schools with up to 50 employees.
As for MERV 13 air filters, they’re typically made by Honeywell and change every two months.
They’re made of paper treated with a charcoal-based compound to remove particles from the conditioned air. You can expect to get about 500 to 1,000 square feet of filtration.
You can choose a MERV 13 air filter if you want a permanent solution. These filters are similar to HEPA air cleaners and help protect you from airborne contaminants.
They’re made of plastic that’s treated with zinc oxide in addition to the charcoal-based compound used on MERV 13 filters. You can expect to get about 400 to 600 square feet of filtration.
To see if your home or office space is large enough for a MERV 13 filter:
- Calculate the dimensions of an air filter you already have.
- Measure those dimensions and compare them to the MERV 13 specifications from your HVAC company.
- If the space is large enough, choose an air filter that Honeywell makes if you want to attempt fresh air purification instead of hiring a contractor.
What Do You Do With A Used Carbon Filter?
There are several things you can do with a used carbon filter.
- You can send it to a company that recycles the carbon; they will send you back a bag of activated carbon that you can use in your filter.
- You can use it as animal bedding for your chicken coop or bunny hutch.
- You could use it as a filler to make gravel paths or as an insulator in crawl spaces and basements.
- You could also turn it into compost for your garden.
- Finally, many people will just put their filters in with the compost pile and use them to fertilize the garden or make potting soil.
Extra: If you want to get green, you can put the carbon into a container before adding it to your compost pile. Then watch as it turns into a black powder-like substance.
This black material, known as Biochar, keeps moisture much longer than regular soil. It also makes soil easier to work with.
The benefits of Biochar are still in discovery, but what you do know is that it helps plants grow better. One can use it to make some very effective compost bins with good results.
On the downside, it costs money to recycle carbon filters and makes a mess. It’s also not the easiest thing to do if you have a lot of filters, depending on where you live.
Disposable furnace filters are the most convenient filter, but you should not rely on them as the only air filter in your home.
Several other types of filters listed here have some unique benefits. It’s up to you to find a good fit for your household or business needs.