If you follow along with us on Instagram, you may have seen this post when we talked through our initial impressions of K&N®’s new washable home filters. Your excited response to the few Stories we shared made us even more excited – excited about air filters, you guys! – and so today, I’m super duper excited to really break it down for you. That’s a whole lot of excitement. Should we start a Washable Home Filter Fan Club? Let’s do it.
Disposable vs. Reusable Filters
We’ve utilized a few different styles of ‘reusable’ filters in the past, but we’ve never felt that they did as good of a job filtering the air as a high quality disposable filter. And yet, tossing the disposables every season felt so wasteful! In hindsight, the reusable filters we’ve tried in the past were on the lower range of the MERV rating scale (more on that in a second), so we were actually right – scientifically!
As we saw it, that left us with two options. We could either move forward with the unreliable reusable filters (that don’t do a great job of actually filtering the air we breathe in our home), or we could continue purchasing high-quality, yet expensive and wasteful, disposable filters. We were stuck in a bit of a lose/lose situation, if you will, and for a household with two large dogs, an allergy-prone elder cat and a toddler, what we use with our HVAC system matters. That all changed, however, when K&N released their new line of washable home air filters!
The washable filters are reusable for the lifetime of your HVAC system, which is upwards up 15 years in most cases. So for fun, let’s do that math: 1 disposable filter every 3 months is 4 times a year, times 15 years is 60 disposable filters. Washable filters eliminate the disposables from the landfill while saving you money. As an added bonus? No more last minute trips to the hardware store!
The Sweet Spot
We have two HVAC units in our home (one for each floor), and with our K&N home air filters, we’ve found the perfect middle ground. The washable and reusable filters are constructed incredibly well and feature a MERV rating of 11, which is a dream for folks like us with both pets and allergies (and pets with allergies)!
A quick note on MERV ratings from the K&N FAQs: K&N home air filters are manufactured at MERV 11 (minimum efficiency rated value). Filters rated at MERV 11 (according to the National Air Filtration Association) help filter dust, hair, plant spores, pet dander, mold spores, cement dust, insecticide dust, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, and tobacco smoke.
Immediately prior to installing the K&N filters, we were using disposable filters that claimed to help filter pet dander and allergens. Even still, Kim and I would often wake up in the morning with stuffy noses from our respective allergies. While there are certainly many contributing factors to indoor air quality, we’ve both noticed a decrease in sinus congestion since installing the washable filters!
Filter Installation & Cleaning
Much like the K&N replacement engine air filters we’ve been using in our vehicles for years (yes, that K&N!), the home filters are 100% washable and reusable. Because of this, we’re not only able to keep disposable filters out of landfills, but we’ll save a significant amount of money over the life of the filter. As an added bonus, the K&N filters will help reduce strain on of our HVAC equipment and even helps to increase its efficiency! As with most HVAC filters, the filters install in a matter of seconds with no tools required. Simply remove the old filter and slide the new one into place.
Tip: If you’re unsure of which size filter to purchase, chances are good that your current filter has the size printed on the side. Both of our furnaces require a 16″ x 20″ x 1″ filter.
We live in the heart of Chicago in an urban, yet fairly green, setting that can be quite dusty and full of pollen. Prior to moving to these washable filters, we changed our disposable filters as much as every 2 months to reduce allergens caused by our environment and pets. For our first K&N filter cleaning, we simply followed the instructions and sprayed the filter with cleaning spray, waited a few minutes, then rinsed it off with a gentle shower from the garden hose. That’s it! The entire cleaning process took a few minutes from start to finish, and the filters were dry and ready to re-install the same day.
Better Air Quality for All of Us
Now that we’re a (human) family of three, it’s even more important for us to maximize the quality of the air we breathe in our home. Admittedly, two adult environmental allergy sufferers electing to share their home with two large dogs and a fragile elder kitty is not wise from a health perspective. Our pets, however, are an integral part of the family, and the joy they bring us and Lucy far outweighs the sinus inconveniences.
After hoping for years that this exact product would be introduced to the marketplace, K&N has exceeded our expectations in every way. We’re no longer wasting money on disposable filters that will end up in a landfill after only a handful of weeks, and we’re impressed with their ability to help create a healthier home environment for our entire family.
Will you make the switch to washable home air filters?
Thank you to K&N for collaborating with us on this post. You can view the entire line of washable home air filters right here!