Can Air Filters be Recycled?

January 16, 2019

At 4 Seasons Heating & Air in Alpharetta, we offer all manner of maintenance services for air conditioners as well as furnaces and other heating solutions. Basic maintenance includes regular replacement and cleaning of air filters. A common question we receive from our clients is whether air filters can be recycled, and the answer is that it depends.

Recycling Air Filters for Use

The most prevalent type of HVAC air filter is designed to be inexpensive and disposable. Most HVAC professionals advise against trying to clean these filters in order to reuse them. Even if the filters could be cleaned effectively, the effort isn’t worth it due to how inexpensive the filters are. Additionally, effective cleaning is difficult due to the design, and chances are you’ll cause your system to work harder, which can easily wipe out any savings you’ve managed.

Recycling Air Filters for the Environment

Most HVAC filters are constructed of woven fibers that are made from either fiberglass or polyester. While recent innovations have allowed for recycling of fiberglass, it’s still not feasible to clean and recycle air filters. Although homeowners can’t recycle air filters in an eco-friendly manner, they can be more environmentally friendly by investing in washable air filters.

With proper maintenance, a reusable air filter can last five years, which means that you throw away your air filters every half decade rather than once a quarter. Homeowners with pets can change filters every 60 or even 45 days, so that’s a significant difference.

What Are the Trade-Offs With Reusable Filters?

The biggest trade-off is up-front costs. If you have many exchanges in your home, then that investment initially and every five years can be significant. Over the long term, however, the reusable filters are typically less costly. In terms of efficiency, the washable filters generally perform better or at least as well, but you have to factor in the additional effort of vacuuming the filter, washing it with water and letting it dry.

If you’re considering reusable air filters and you would like to learn more, contact 4 Seasons Heating & Air today for more information.

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