can you clean a disposable air filter

How To Clean a Reusable Car Air Filter Cleaning your air filter isn’t very hard at all. There are two types of AC air filters: disposable and washable/reusable. So, you would be leaving behind a lot of dust, dirt, and all sorts of pollutants and those will jeopardize not only the air quality in your place but also your HVAC system. You will need a filter for your filter cleaner. Humidifier filters don't need to be cleaned as frequently as the humidifier tank does. % of people told us that this article helped them. To learn more, including how to tell whether you should clean or replace your filter, read on! Begin this step by pouring one cup of dishwas h ing soap into a clean bucket. Call Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning for complete details. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. You’ll also need to clean a washable filter by taking it apart and rinsing off the components. The contaminant particles can get buried deep in the filter’s fibers, so a vacuum cleaner won’t extract all of them. If your reusable filters don’t seem to be working properly in your system, consult the HVAC guidance and services of Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning. This takes longer than just changing a disposable one, so you should avoid using washable filters if you have lots of things to do. Reasons You Shouldn't Clean & Reuse a Disposable Air Filter There are disposable pleated filters for residential use, there are metal “mesh” filters for restaurant use, there are huge box filters for industrial use, and even most cars come with cabin air filters today. This article was co-authored by Victor Belavus. How to clean RV air conditioner filter? Disposable air filters shouldn’t be vacuumed or moistened. How to Clean a Washable Air Filter . Over time, as it filters out pollutants, it turns darker in color as dirt deposits build up on the filter paper. If the air filter gets clogged with pet hair, smoke residue, dust, and dirt, it will not work correctly. Having the right tools for the job can make things a lot easier. Maintenance. Suite 131, Savannah, GA 31405912-373-8447, All Content Copyright © 2020 Byrd Heating and Air Conditioning | Privacy Policy | Accessibility Statement | Sitemap, 4131 Ogeechee Rd. Decide to Wash or Use a Vacuum Disposable air filters are definitely cheaper at the time of purchase, while washable furnace filters are a little more on the costly side. Permanent HEPA filters remove harmful pollutants from the air just like a disposable HEPA filter does, except that the permanent type can be vacuumed clean and reused over and over again. Step One: Determine The Air Conditioner Filter Location With central air conditioners, the filter typically resides near the cold air return. Whether you have a disposable air conditioner filter or a washable AC filter, at some point all air conditioner filters need to be replaced. Call 912-373-8447 to schedule an appointment with one of the team’s qualified technicians. You also won’t have to worry about storing cases of disposable air filters in your home. He has over 10 years of experience working with HVAC systems. Once you find the manufacture’s specifications on filters, there are a variety of options you can purchase that filter out different levels of dust, viruses and smoke. You'll need to clean both more often if your home is dusty or you have hard water. This article was co-authored by Victor Belavus. If you have a disposable air filter, replace it after about one month. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. 10 Steps to Cleaning an Electrostatic Air Filter. Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. Washing can get your filter cleaner than vacuuming alone, but is riskier and more time-consuming. If you follow the standard 10,000 mile replacement recommendation for paper filters, that is 10 filters in 100,000 miles. Don’t put the filter back when it’s still wet! Clean Hoses and Filters . This article has been viewed 89,055 times. Cleaning your furnace filter is an easy and cheap way of reducing your energy costs and improving your indoor air quality. Proper cleaning of reusable air filters is important to maintain critical airflow and prolong the life of the AC unit. Instead of replacing disposable filters over and over, you can easily restore your reusable K&N® filters with the K&N Cabin Air Filter Refresher Kit.. If you don't have the owner's manual, check the manufacturer's website. If you’re short on time, you can use a hair dryer or small fan on moderate heat to speed up the drying process, after the rinse stage only. Open the filter housing and remove the air filter; Purchase the same filter at the store, make sure that it is of the same size We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Cons: Some people may find purchasing a new air filter every month more of a hassle than cleaning a reusable one. With an average MERV value below 8, reusable filters often remove fewer particles than many of the disposable filters, which might overtax your furnace or … Disposable filters can also be very inexpensive, depending on the type you go with. Whole house filters, air filters and furnace filters are designed to capture debris found within most homes, but no matter how clean your washable filter may appear , … Also make sure to regularly clean the coils and fan using a canister of condensed air to blow away dust and buildup. Disposable one are made of paper type cloth, they cannot be washed. Vacuuming is the quickest way to wash a reusable filter, although heavy grime may require washing. Vacuuming is the quickest way to wash a reusable filter, although heavy grime may require washing. Buy a New Air Conditioner Filter. He asked how often we clean the cells and pre-filters and I said about once every 2-3 months. Then, open the air vent and use the hose attachment on your vacuum to remove any dust. But replacing your AC filter doesn’t have to be a difficult task — we’ll walk you through how to tell if your AC filter needs to be replaced and how to replace it. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/a\/ab\/Clean-an-Air-Filter-Step-8.jpg\/v4-460px-Clean-an-Air-Filter-Step-8.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/a\/ab\/Clean-an-Air-Filter-Step-8.jpg\/aid8704752-v4-728px-Clean-an-Air-Filter-Step-8.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, Official site for the U.S. Department of Energy, which provides resources related to energy safety, conservation, and efficiency. Be patient and give it sufficient time; you want to make sure it is 100% dry. When it comes time to clean a reusable filter, the system must be shut down completely while the filter is cleaned with water and dried before replacing it to the return air … In addition, you’ll need a spare washable filter if you want to use your HVAC system while you’re cleaning your main one. Moisture and debris can cause damage to the engine. The instructions can tell you, or the filter itself may be labeled. Afterwards, rinse the filter under running water to remove any remaining dust and debris. But blowing or sucking them out does remove some of the dust that is present. Make sure the filter is compatible with cleaning; for instance, disposable air filters should be replaced, not cleaned, whereas permanent filters may be washable. Clean your electrostatic air filter by following these steps: Carefully remove the electrostatic air filter from the filter chamber located near your system’s air handler. 30 minutes? A baseboard cold air return can be flat or slanted and is typically located at or near floor level. There are some disposable filters that can capture up to 95% of the large pollutants circulating in the air. There are two different types of AC filters: washable and disposable. Unlock this expert answer by supporting wikiHow, http://www.partselect.com/JustForFun/Air-Conditioning-Filters-Guide.aspx, http://www.ebay.com/gds/How-to-Clean-Your-Home-Air-Filter-/10000000177632766/g.html, http://www.housecleaningcentral.com/en/cleaning-tips/tip/cleaning-air-filters.html, http://www.carsdirect.com/car-maintenance/how-to-clean-your-cars-air-filter, http://www.autoaccessoriesgarage.com/Air-Filters/How-To-Clean-An-Air-Filter, http://procarmechanics.com/clean-air-filters-help-gas-mileage/, http://www.carsdirect.com/car-maintenance/how-to-tell-if-your-car-air-filter-needs-changing, https://energy.gov/energysaver/maintaining-your-air-conditioner, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. The frame is usually made of cardboard that will not stand up to cleaning. In addition to HVAC and air conditioning units, Victor also specializes in furnace repair and air duct cleaning. Like with a reusable bag, make it your goal to make the product “like new” each time you clean it. The particles will create a barrier in the air filter and prevent air from passing through, which could damage your HVAC system or make it less efficient. Your home may have more than one return, so be sure to clean them all. Washable air filters can last five to 10 years or longer, with some makers claiming washable filters may outlive your HVAC system. Get the proven playbook to heal a broken heart. The main difference, of course is that the disposable filters can not be reused, and replacing them each time you change your filter can become expensive. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. By using our site, you agree to our. It is a good idea to contact the pros at Custom Air, Inc. at (866) 819-0992 before you change the type of filter you’re using. Humidifier filters don't need to be cleaned as frequently as the humidifier tank does. Expert Interview. Don’t allow the cleanser to dry on the filter; let it sit only for ten minutes. Dirt exceeds the wire mesh of your filter. But water is also the problem that is linked to creating moisture. This might seem pretty straightforward based on the descriptions of the filters. After the filter is cleaned from dirt and grime, it is time for you to get rid of the … Instead of cleaning a disposable air filter, throw it away and replace it with a new one. After that time, it will become too clogged with dust, dirt, and debris to function efficiently. Disposable air filters can catch more contaminants and keep you and your family healthier and more comfortable, especially if you have asthma or allergies. They trap dust and other particles as air passes through them, filtering out all the gunk. Make sure the filter is compatible with cleaning; for instance, disposable air filters should be replaced, not cleaned, whereas permanent filters may be washable. For small appliances, it is best to unplug the machine to avoid any potential for electrical shock. In general, you can expect to clean the tank once every three days and the filter once a week. You should clean the filter right now. Contaminants. To clean a reusable filter, remove the filter carefully, run it under water, and set it out to dry. Washable electrostatic air filters can be constructed differently with a variety of filter media, and may not allow for as much free air flow as standard disposable filters do which may cause your furnace to work harder. And he stated you can buy them cheaply at Lowes/Home Depot. You can clean your car or home air filters yourself, but be aware that hiring a professional to replace it for you lessens the possibility of error. Now, a thing to keep in mind with filters is that they can be washed only if they aren’t disposable one-time-use filters. Some have filters that are washable, while others are disposable. So a potential use of 100,000 miles. Unless you wear some type of respirator, you can inhale those pollutants, which could trigger an allergic reaction. If your filter is not reusable, replaceable/disposable filters are available to purchase online or at hardware stores. Using a garden hose with a power spray nozzle, turn on the water to full pressure. any finer grade filter will just restrict the airflow and make your unit run harder. Next, remove the filter and vacuum the dust and debris from the front, back, and sides. Learn some of the reasons these filters can’t be cleaned and reused in your HVAC system of your Savannah, Georgia, home. The air purifier will then return the clean air back into your home. First, you need to safely get the filter out of the AC unit. Furthermore, if the filter is not dried properly, it can lead to mold growth. Suite 131, Savannah, GA 31405. Return your clean HEPA filter to the air purifier, and put the front grill back in place if you removed it for cleaning. For disposable filters, discard the old filters. When you inspect your AC filter and see dust on the surface of the filter, it’s time to clean it up. A flat wall cold air return is normally near or on the ceiling. You’ll have to take the time (up to 15 minutes) to properly wash them in lieu of swapping out disposable air filters. How to clean reusable cabin air filters. Find Out Where the Filter Is. The moisture in the filter may be a good spot for mold to grow. On average, disposable filters cost about $15 each, but you’ll find countless opportunities to save. Either way, you’ll want to … Cleaning and maintenance can vary depending on your air purifier. Tip: Use compressed air dusters for light cleaning … The major advantage of a permanent HEPA filter is that you don’t have to pay for a replacement. Meanwhile, disposable air filters have several layers of soft mesh (cotton, polyester, fiberglass, etc.). You may want to wash your filter with a soap solution if it’s been exposed to grease, smoke or pet hair. If your filter has a plastic frame, it's a reusable model. He has over 10 years of experience working with HVAC systems. Disposable filters come in a much wider range of MERV ratings, allowing you to choose the level of efficiency that is best for you. Thus, the informative post is great to inform us that a washable filter for the airconditioner is super easy to clean and as well as to maintain. You can now begin using your clean air purifier again. If you're a lazy homeowner, they probably won't do much good for your household air quality. Make sure that you turn off and unplug the air purifier before cleaning. Disposable Air Filter. Disposable filters are designed for one-time use and are less expensive than washable filters. If you don’t clean a washable air filter regularly, it will become clogged, and contaminants could start … Though your … To freshen the air while you vacuum, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to the filter. Finally, pat it dry with paper towels and let it finish air drying before reinstalling it, since moisture on your filter can lead to mold growth. If you don’t change your air filter as needed, you may notice a decrease in your gas mileage, ignition problems, or fouled spark plugs. Otherwise, follow our tips for cleaning out a reusable model. This article has been viewed 89,055 times. Water can clean even the worse dirt. Not all filters can be cleaned: Washing disposable filters may cause mold problems. Also, although reusable filters are good at protecting your home from large particles – like dust, they’re sometimes not as effective at filtering out bacteria, viruses, smoke, and pet dander. Disposable air filters cannot be cleaned sufficiently, and attempting to clean them could lead to AC efficiency issues or even mold. Plus, wetting a disposable filter makes it far less effective, so you’ll see decreases in energy efficiency and indoor air quality. Vacuum the filter outside, if possible, to avoid stirring up dust in the home. Permanent HEPA filters remove harmful pollutants from the air just like a disposable HEPA filter does, except that the permanent type can be vacuumed clean and reused over and over again. Should I use a reusable air filter for an air conditioner? A typical paper disposable air filter is white or off-white when new. A disposable air filter, however, doesn’t work the same way. Washable AC filters can be easily cleaned and reused as needed, while disposable AC filters offer a shorter life cycle. Many people bought air purifiers to kill mold in their homes, but if you wash the filter with water, you could actually help mold to grow. How long do I leave the air filter out so that it can air-dry? You can clean your air filter at home by following the three processes I have mentioned earlier in this article. Although it can be cleaned with compressed air, it is best to simply throw it out after usage. Air Conditioning Specialist. The major advantage of a permanent HEPA filter is that you don’t have to pay for a replacement. A standard fiberglass filter will only cost you a few bucks! Meanwhile, disposable air filters have several layers of soft mesh (cotton, polyester, fiberglass, etc.). However, when you consider how many disposable air filters you will use over the same five or 10 years that one washable filter will last, the washable filter actually comes out costing you less money. Many disposable air conditioner filters should be replaced rather than cleaned as cleaning with water can lead to possible mold issues. Hit the Off Switch . He stated that a better option now is to use disposable filters in the EAC housing (remove the cells and prefilters, turn off unit). While disposable air filters save you from cleaning work, this is a bit costly since you need to buy air filters for your aircon unit over and over again, until your aircon still working functioning. Disposable filters can tear under the pressure of vacuuming or compressed air. K&N® High-Flow Air Filters™ are designed to last for the life of your vehicle. One thing is for certain –If you want to maintain clean and healthy indoor air, you need to keep a strict schedule for either replacing or cleaning your filters. Your furnace was rated for a filter that does dot filter too well. 1 hour? Did you know you can read expert answers for this article? In general, you can expect to clean the tank once every three days and the filter once a week. Failing to clean your air filters in the home can cause HVAC failure or even fire. If you are running your furnace consistently throughout the winter, it is best if you inspect your heater's filter once a month. Part 1 This is made of special paper that will be able to catch particles. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Types of Foam Air Filter 1. Even if you thoroughly wash your filter, tiny debris particles may remain. Most pleated filters are intended to be disposed of after use and SHOULD NOT tried to … Disposable vs. Washable AC Air Filters Two Types of Air Filters. The filter should sit snugly, without appearing too small or warped. Victor Belavus is an Air Conditioning Specialist and the Owner of 212 HVAC, an air condition repair and installation company based in Brooklyn, New York. Washable electrostatic air filters can be constructed differently with a variety of filter media, and may not allow for as much free air flow as standard disposable filters do which may cause your furnace to work harder. That means one washable air filter, conservatively, could replace between 20 and 60 disposable air filters. After it seems clean you can replace it into the vacuum. Even if you can clean your HEPA filter outdoors, some of the particles from the filter will be in the air while you clean it. Vacuuming is faster and safer than washing the filter. Support wikiHow by But this also means that you can’t reuse these filters, as washing them would destroy the … Attempting to clean a disposable filter can cause matting of the fibers, encouraging mold and … If you’re not sure where your air purifier or conditioner’s filter is, the best … Deal with bacteria. Last Updated: October 30, 2020 However, you must make certain it is an air filter designed to be reused. We can tell you what kind of filter will work best with your current HVAC system. Some consumers attempt to clean their disposable HVAC air filters by shaking them outside or attempting to pick off pet hair, dust, and dirt. Method 1 Cleaning a Home Air Filter Offers cannot be combined. While these actions might seem like easy ways to save money and conserve resources, shakes or cleaning attempts can cause damage to the filters. Before cleaning a home air filter, turn off the air filter system so the debris doesn’t get sucked back into the system during the cleaning process. Washing the filter sounds like a good idea. If you have a disposable air filter, replace it after about one month. Disposable air filters are meant to be replaced every one to three months. Keep in mind that these steps only apply if your air conditioner’s filter is reusable. At roughly $13 for the same size filter … To learn more, including how to tell whether you should clean or replace your filter, read on! Wipe down the outside of the air purifier with a dry or lightly damp microfiber cleaning cloth. 45 minutes to an hour should work, depending on the type and size. Before you invest in an HVAC filter type, you’ll want to make sure the average costs work with your household budget. It is possible to prolong the life of an air cleaner filter by carefully vacuuming the filter; however, if the filter is extremely soiled, you should replace it within the manufacturer's suggested time frame. You can order them online and have them delivered to your door. A reusable air filter is made from more durable materials. If you need any type of service residential and commercial HVAC service in Smyrna or Rutherford County, TN, don’t hesitate to contact the trusted HVAC technicians and installers at Parker’s Heating & Cooling today! When clean, electronic air filters are the most efficient furnace filters on the market - according to research at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. If you have a disposable filter, you’ll have to replace it in lieu of cleaning. Disposable filters tend to have cardboard frames. The Importance of Regular Cleaning. Replacing disposable filters is relatively easy, as you’ll simply remove the old filter and put a new one in its place. If you assume an engine life of 175,000 miles-and replace your disposable air filter every 15,000 miles-only one K&N air filter will be used during the same period in which eleven disposable air filters are discarded. That’s $79 (or so) for an air filter and enough cleaning agent for one cleaning. Disposable filters should be replaced, whereas permanent filters can be vacuumed or washed. When in-between they can give off ozone. If you need help deciding what filter to buy for your furnace or air conditioner, Landmark can show you how to choose a filter … Before you begin the process of cleaning an air filter, make sure that the HVAC system or appliance is turned off. So unless youre hypoallergenic then stick with the cheepies and change them EVERY ONE month. The most common type of air filter is a disposable filter. You can clean it out and place it back in your furnace. In addition to HVAC and air conditioning units, Victor also specializes in furnace repair and air duct cleaning. A standard fiberglass filter will only cost you a few bucks! The moisture the filter retains can encourage mold growth over time, and your HVAC system might spread the mold spores throughout the rest of your home. This section of the article will guide you on how to properly clean air purifier filters. Use a gentle spray, not the full force of your hose, to avoid damaging the filter. Therefore, you cannot have fresh and contaminant-free air. In the case of a red or black K&N air filter, you will see dirt extending beyond the protective wire mesh of your filter. However, the disposable filters you use in your HVAC system aren’t made to shed water after they get wet. If you don't have the owner's manual, check the manufacturer's website. Your RV’s AC probably has washable filters, but you should make sure that they can indeed be cleaned just in case. 5. Cons: Some people may find purchasing a new air filter every month more of a hassle than cleaning a reusable one. Victor Belavus is an Air Conditioning Specialist and the Owner of 212 HVAC, an air condition repair and installation company based in Brooklyn, New York. After the final rinse, shake off any excess water before setting the filter out to dry. They trap dust and other particles as air passes through them, filtering out all the gunk. Limited time offer.4131 Ogeechee Rd. Every one to three months, you can remove this filter and carefully wash it to remove the accumulated dust, irritants, and pollutants. But this also means that you can’t reuse these filters, as washing them … As time passes, your air filter collects many contaminants, including dust, pollen, and dirt. While keeping your electrostatic air filter clean can do a lot to keep your system running optimally, eventually, every system needs maintenances or repairs. Disposable electrostatic filters typically have a higher MERV rating making them a good … More frequent changing is needed if your filter is exposed to a lot of dust or pet hair. For starters, you can’t even reach the inner fibers of the disposable air filter, which means you will never be able to properly clean it. When dirty, they don't filter much at all. Some air filters are made to be cleaned, while … Use a step ladder if the vent is up on the ceiling or a high wall. Both washable and disposable HVAC filters require regular maintenance. When you're done, your filter should be clean and can be reinstalled. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 89,055 times. If you do not inspect, clean and eventually replace air filters, you will experience a reduction in airflow because of dirt and dust buildup, which can lead to early system failure. Rinse the filter by moving it up and down under the stream of water. Rinse it in a sink or tub with water. If your filter is disposable, replace it. you dont need super filtered air unless you are hypo allergenic. Washing disposable air filters can actually clog them, as well as cause mold. The Griffith Energy Services team recommends replacing disposable filters every 30 to 90 days. You'll need to clean both more often if your home is dusty or you … Some air filters — permanent and semipermanent models — can be cleaned as part of regular HVAC system maintenance and replaced for continuous use. Make sure there are no gaps. At regular intervals, you must remove it from the HVAC cabinet, throw it away, and install a fresh filter. If you are running your furnace consistently throughout the winter, it is best if you inspect your heater's filter once a month. If the system isn’t turned off first, it will suck in debris during the cleaning process. Washable filters are not only more expensive than disposable ones, but they have to be replaced eventually, as with disposable ones. You can make use of a soft, damp cloth to clean the exterior of the air purifier. This is important cleaning advice—be sure to follow instructions as mold can cause serious breathing problems. One drawback of using a washable air filter is that it takes more effort. Edit: SOURCE: im an HVAC tech You’ll have to take the time (up to 15 minutes) to properly wash them in lieu of swapping out disposable air filters. They Require More Effort. Also make sure to regularly clean the coils and fan using a canister of condensed air to blow away dust and buildup. Yes Disposable is the way to go, and you should get the cheapest ones. After the rinse, the filter should be dry in about fifteen minutes; but if it isn’t thoroughly dry, allow it to sit longer. If it’s reusable, you can vacuum or wash it. Otherwise, follow our tips for cleaning out a reusable model. Some HVAC companies are completely negative about washable filters, believing that they are the worst type of filter you can choose. Reusable filters can be washed and replaced. unlocking this expert answer. This can damage the vehicle’s engine. The beauty of disposable air filters is that they can be replaced and thrown away with minimal disruption to the operation of the system. The best air filtration comes from HEPA disposable filters. Unless you have a washable filter, you should never wash or vacuum a disposable air filter. Soak it good for about ten minutes, making sure not to … Victor Belavus. You may inhale some of the pollutants from the filter. Alternatively, consider reusable filters that last years with regular cleaning. Tip #1: Clean your car’s air filter In general, most cars should have their air filter replaced every 15,000 miles. You can cover the inlet (if you can find it) with 1/4" mesh wire hardware cloth to prevent mice and other large debris getting in and causing premature clogging. Must present coupon at time of service. References. Make Sure You Can Clean the Media. Disposable filters can also be very inexpensive, depending on the type you go with. A disposable filter is a one-time-use product that’s typically effective for between one and three months. 6 May 2020. Once you have it out of the car, thump it a few times to knock the heavy stuff off, then spray K&N Air Filter Cleaner over both sides of the filter. If it’s been a long time, you might be able to agitate the filter for a good, long while and continue to see sediment fall into the garbage. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. At a low pressure, this may work temporarily, but it’s not a long-term solution. The upside of disposable AC filters is their inexpensiveness; however, they’re less effective at … Related ... down to 14.6 nanometers (most disposable HEPA filters can only filter down to 300 nanometers). In most cases, disposable filters cost much less than washable versions. When you use a disposable air filter, you just toss it away and slide a new one in. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Many disposable air conditioner filters should be replaced rather than cleaned as cleaning with water can lead to possible mold issues. So, the question you need to ask yourself is whether cleaning a reusable air filter really gets it clean. Neglecting to let the filter dry completely can cause mold growth, which can spread spores throughout your home through the HVAC. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. The air filter’s housing should be on top of the engine, in a round or rectangular box. It will not remove all the dust and will get worse and worse for air flow. Disposable air filters cannot be cleaned sufficiently, and attempting to clean them could lead to AC efficiency issues or even mold. Next, fill the bucket with warm water and allow your cleaning mixture to form. Cleaning your furnace filter is an easy and cheap way of reducing your energy costs and improving your indoor air quality. 4. If you tear a hole in the fibers or loosen the fiber density, your air filters cannot work as well as before. K&N type re-usable filters don't filter as well as stock paper elements so I'd stick with the paper element. These air filters operate just as their name suggests: after a few months – or according to the manufacturer’s guidelines – you throw the old air filter in the trash and replace it with a new one. 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