Air filters are essential components of any HVAC or AC unit, as they help keep the air clean and safe from dirt and debris. But can you rinse air filters with water? The answer is yes, but it depends on the type of filter you have. Washable air filters are easy to clean and maintain, while disposable filters should be replaced regularly. Oil-coated filters require a specific cleaning solution, and HEPA filters should not be cleaned at all.
In this article, we'll discuss the different types of air filters and how to clean them properly. When it comes to washable air filters, the process is quite simple. First, remove the filter from the HVAC or AC unit and rinse it under running water. Shake off any excess water before putting it back in place. It's important to consult your owner's manual or check with your air filter manufacturer to make sure it's safe to use soap and water, especially if you have an oil-coated filter.Oil-coated filters are not that common, but if you have one, you'll need a specific cleaning solution.
Do not use soap and water on an oil-coated air filter. If the filter requires a more thorough cleaning, fill a sink or bucket with a mixture of equal parts hot water and distilled white vinegar. Allow the filter to soak for about an hour before rinsing it with clean water. 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. Use a low pressure setting to avoid damaging the filter.
Be sure to refer to the manufacturer's instructions to determine the best way to clean your air conditioner or oven filter. In terms of maintenance, you should clean washable filters once a month. Neglecting this can lead to a restriction of air flow, as dirt accumulates inside the filter. A HEPA filter marketed as “permanent” should be gently cleaned with a vacuum to vacuum dust and dirt from the filter surface. For best results, plan to clean your home's air filters approximately once a month and replace them approximately every six months. If you've noticed a decrease in mileage per gallon or acceleration, try gently vacuuming and cleaning the air filter. But even if you could be 100 percent sure that the filter wouldn't be damaged when you clean it, there are other reasons why cleaning a HEPA filter isn't a good idea.
As we've discussed, cleaning a HEPA filter will almost certainly cause damage to the extremely fine mesh of fibers that allow the filter to do its job.