Cleaning a Reusable Furnace Filter

by April Reinhardt
(last updated November 19, 2018)

There are two types of furnace filters: permanent and disposable. Disposable furnace filters have cardboard frames, while permanent filters have metal or fiberglass frames. While disposable filters are less expensive, they require monthly replacement, at the very least. Permanent filters, while costing more from the get-go, are more cost-effective in that they are reusable. Reusable furnace filters require more regular cleaning than disposable models.

Both reusable and disposable filters are marked with a MERV Rating. MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Report Value, and that rating reports the filter's particle-trapping capacity, allowing you to compare performances between several brands of filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient and productive the filter.

If you have a reusable furnace filter, you need to check it at least once a month, and more often during heating and cooling seasons. If you can see that the filter is dirty, then you need to clean it. Follow these steps to clean your reusable furnace filter:

  1. Turn off the furnace.
  2. Locate the service panel and remove the cover. You may need a screwdriver or other tools to complete this step.
  3. Find the furnace filter. It will be near the intake/outtake blower. If you can see dust on the filter, you need to remove it and clean it.
  4. Once you've removed the filter, rinse it with water to clean it. You can complete this step by using your kitchen or laundry room sink, or take it outside and flush it using your garden hose.
  5. Allow the filter to dry completely.
  6. Replace the filter, replace the service panel, and turn your furnace back on.

If you find that you don't have time to clean your reusable filter, keep an extra filter on hand and switch them out. Then, when you do have time, clean the dirty to have on hand next time you need to switch it out for the dirty one. It is a good idea to vacuum around your furnace during heating and cooling season to help diminish dust from entering your furnace filter. You could get into the habit of vacuuming each time you clean your filter, and help your furnace become more efficient.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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