When it comes to furnace filters, there are a few different types that require different cleaning methods. Permanent filters are easy to clean and can be reused, while disposable filters should not be cleaned and should be replaced when they become dirty. Washable electrostatic and electronic oven cleaners should also be cleaned regularly. Cleaning permanent filters is simple.
All you have to do is remove the filter from the oven, rinse off the dust and allow it to dry completely before putting it back in the oven. Reusable filters can be washed and replaced. However, disposable filters used in HVAC systems are not meant to be cleaned after they get wet. The moisture retained by the filter can encourage mold growth over time, and the HVAC system could spread mold spores throughout the rest of the house.
In addition, wetting a disposable filter makes it much less effective, resulting in decreased energy efficiency and indoor air quality. For electrostatic filters, it is recommended to clean them every 30-90 days. It's a good idea to inspect the filter at least every 30 days to see if it's dirty. If you need a more thorough cleaning, fill a sink with one part vinegar and one part warm water and let the filter soak for one hour.
If the HVAC filter is only slightly dirty, place it in a sink or tub and rinse it thoroughly under warm running water. You can also use an outer hose on your filter, just make sure you don't use any pressure settings, as this could damage the filter. Use your hands or a soft brush to remove any remaining debris. Polyester and cotton filters will trap fine particles such as dust and allergens, and you won't be able to clean them like you would with a disposable filter. If the filter is too large to fit inside a sink or bucket, use a garden hose to wash it, allowing water to run through the filter in the opposite direction of the airflow. Reusable filters are commonly treated with an electrostatic coating so that fine dust particles are attracted to the filter.
Even reusable filters should be replaced when they show signs of wear and tear, keeping the air filter clean will ensure you get the best possible air quality in your home. Be sure to refer to the manufacturer's instructions to determine the best way to clean your air conditioner or oven filter, but the following steps will work for most reusable filters. In fact, if you submerged a disposable filter with water and washed it with a hose, it would ruin the filter since they are not made to withstand such abuse. Most filters have arrow marks that indicate the correct location; these arrows should normally point toward the oven in the direction of the air flow. Permanent filters are more expensive upfront but can save you money in the long run because you can clean them instead of replacing them. Cleaning your furnace filter thoroughly with a garden hose will help you get rid of all dust and dirt particles that have accumulated over time.