Are HVAC filters recyclable?

two hands installing new furnace filter

Many types of systems use filters to clean and purify something. That “something” will vary between each device or fixture. For example, vehicles have air filters that prevent contaminants from entering your fuel lines. Drinking water systems have filtration systems to remove additives and unnecessary chemicals. Pools and spas both use water filters to clean the water as it cycles through the pump system. 

Your HVAC system is no different. Whether you’re using your air conditioner or your furnace, the blower motor portion of your system uses a filter. Ideally, these are replaced every 1-3 months. In a society that cares more and more about green initiatives and recycling, we are often asked if these HVAC filters are recyclable. Let’s unpack the answer in more detail.

The primary types of HVAC filters
Before we answer the question at hand, however, let’s talk about the filters themselves. There are 6 main types of HVAC filters. These are:
• Air conditioner;
• Media air;
• Pleated air;
• Bag air;
• Electrostatic air, and; 
• HEPA. 

When thinking of an HVAC filter, most people would probably be familiar with the fiberglass pleated style of filters. It’s these types of filters most consumers are referring to when they ask if HVAC filters are recyclable.

How often to replace your HVAC filters
As we mentioned previously, a good rule of thumb is to replace your HVAC filter every 1-3 months. This is to ensure your system continues to run at peak efficiency, while also keeping the air you breathe safe for your family.

However, this is the genesis of the question. With each filter replacement, the old filter needs to go somewhere. Will it end up in a landfill or can a recycling center put it to good use somehow?

Reasons why your HVAC filters are not recyclable
Unfortunately, the answer to whether HVAC filters are recyclable comes down to the materials. There are two primary substances in a pleated filter:
• Fiberglass
• And polyester.
Inherently, these are not recyclable. 

Reasons why your HVAC filters are recyclable
As an alternative to the traditional pleated filter, you can purchase filters that are designed to be recycled. These are made with plastic or aluminum frames, making them washable and reusable. 

As a trade-off, these types of filters will need to be cleaned on a regular schedule. Typically, you should follow the same interval as when you would have normally replaced your disposable filters. However, as an added aside, you will need to ensure these filters have fully dried before re-inserting them into your system. 

The simplest answer: some HVAC filters are recyclable and others are not
So, the simple answer is both yes and no. It entirely depends on which type of HVAC filter you are considering. As a rule, traditional filters are not recyclable. They are budget-friendly as well as a disposable option. 

On the other hand, reusable filters that are made of recyclable materials can be cleaned and reused indefinitely. They are more expensive upfront but even out in both replacement costs as well as reducing our collective carbon footprint.

Contact Beehive Heating and Air for assistance
We can help with any HVAC needs you have. Whether you need disposable filters, want to upgrade to a recyclable option, are hearing noises coming from your unit, or need to schedule an inspection, let us know.

Call Beehive Heating and Air at (801) 980-0903 or visit our website HERE. We look forward to working with you.

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