Tuesday, September 26, 2023

How often should you replace your AC and water filters?

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Shreya Christinahttps://cafe-madrid.com
Shreya has been with cafe-madrid.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider cafe-madrid.com team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

John Ogden-McKee, who described himself as an “extremely clean person,” has a penchant for filtration. At his home in Dallas, Ogden-McKee, 39, uses five air purifiers with built-in air conditioners HEPA filters (short for High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters – one in every room except the kitchen – drinks water from a filtered container and fills his drinking glasses with cubes made in an ice maker with a filter component. He replaces the MERV 13 filter in the air conditioner on the first of every month; as soon as the ‘change filter’ light comes on on the other devices, he exchanges the used filter for a new one. “We just always have extra,” he says about his stock of various filters, which he keeps in a cupboard. “I can’t stand chaos.”

Recently, Ogden-McKee discovered a crack in its highly filtered facade. While cleaning the water fountain for his kittens, Push Pin and Paperclip, Ogden-McKee accidentally discovered that the device had a filter — one with four months’ worth of cat water debris. “It was almost like this horror that was in my house that I had no idea about,” says Ogden-McKee.

Over the course of a day, you will likely encounter a number of filters: oven/air conditioning filters (they are the same filter if your home has central AC), vacuum filters, water filters, car cabin air filters, humidifier filters, dishwasher filters, cat fountain filters. The pandemic helped raise the status of air filters, as public health officials de benefits of ventilation and air purifiers in clearing airborne SARS-CoV-2. Designed to remove contaminants such as dust, pet hair and chemicals from your air or water, filters need to be cleaned or replaced regularly or the devices that help them will not function properly. More importantly, air filters help prevent all the gunk in the air in your home from getting into your body.

“Indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air,” says Kelsey Hei, a 3M Filtrete Brand application engineer. “Because our homes are built more airtight, there isn’t as much air circulation to capture and remove particulates from your home’s air without the aid of heating and cooling systems or air purifiers, other than opening windows and doors.”

However, most people don’t regularly change or clean their devices’ filters, said Kelly Winslow, technical director at EnviroHome, which specializes in environmental engineering and indoor air quality. “People abuse filters,” Winslow says, “because they just put it in, leave it in, and think the job is done. A filter is a temporary solution.”

As proof of my own lack of knowledge about changing filters, the mechanic took a picture of my car’s air filter during my last oil change and wrote a provocative “ICK!” next. “A lot of people forget to replace their car’s air filter in particular,” said Dee Ray, chief marketing officer at FiltersFast.com.

Filters can cost anywhere from more than $50 for a refrigerator water filter near $5 for a standard air conditioner or HVAC filter, but in the long run, it’s about keeping your products, the water and air in your home — and the people you live with — healthy and in top condition. “Spending $10 each quarter on a filter sounds like a lot of money,” Winslow says. “But if after six years you have to replace an entire unit for $4,500 when it could have been 14, that $40 looks pretty good for a year.” If you’ve been looking for a reminder to replace one of your filters, this is it.

Air filters

There are several household appliances that filter dust, hair, dirt and other contaminants from the air: central and window air conditioners, ovens, dehumidifiers, extractor hoods or over-the-range microwave ovens, air purifiers, cars, vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers, even the refrigerator. “The most important thing is your air conditioning system,” Winslow says. Air conditioning manufacturers recommend changing the filter every other month, but Winslow suggests changing the filter quarterly (four times a year). You want to use a high-quality filter with a MERV rating of at least 8. “MERV ratings on a filter go from 1 to 20,” Winslow says. “A 20 is a filter used in a hospital room and a MERV 4 is a rating for a filter which is a very basic, low quality filter you see in many homes.”

Vacuum filters also need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. Some vacuum cleaners have foam filters that cleaned with all-purpose cleaner and water. However, if your vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter (made from woven fibers), don’t wash it; only buy a new one if your old one is dirty. The problem with vacuum cleaners, Winslow says, is that they are “notoriously bad devices for indoor air quality, unless they’re high-quality vacuum cleaners. …Otherwise, the vacuum cleaner just pulls the stuff out of the carpet and literally throws it into the air, and that is.” is where you don’t want it.” Winslow’s rule of thumb is to avoid carpets if possible.

Each filter needs to be changed at different times — like monthly for grease and charcoal filters on over-the-range microwaves or after each use on a dryer lint filter – so unfortunately this means some digging on your particular appliance.

Water filters

Pitchers, refrigerators with water dispensers and ice makers, sink filters, whole house filters, water bottles, dishwashers, coffee makers, aquariums and pet fountains filter water and remove metals and chemicals. “Most casual water filter pitcher users ignore the recommendations and replace the filters as soon as they notice that the water flow is slowing down too much that it becomes unusable,” said Paul Lewin, founder of Home Water research, who has reviewed hundreds of water filters by his count. “Others go by taste, and when the water doesn’t start to taste as good as it used to, it’s time for a change.” Standard Brita filtersfor example, should be replaced every two months; LG refrigerator water filters last six months.

Dishwasher filters make sure the machine’s pump doesn’t get clogged and don’t let bits of food slosh around and bounce back on your plates. In general, the filter is located on the bottom of the dishwasher and can be cleaned once or twice a year with detergent and water.

Lewin says you should read the filter manufacturer’s instructions on when to change your filter. These recommendations are often for optimal water conditions “and may be a little generous,” Lewin says. Extra credit for the over-achievers: If you want a more accurate idea of ​​how long your filter will last, Lewin suggests testing your water before buying a filter. “High-quality tests are available cheaply from Amazon and other online stores,” he says. “You collect the water sample yourself and send it back to the lab, and you often receive the results within a week. Once you know exactly what’s in your water and what you want to filter out, you can look for filters that target those specific contaminants.”


Because some appliances have disposable filters (like water purification systems) and some just need cleaning (tumble dryers) plus different replacement schedules, keeping all this straight can be confusing. Winslow recommends marking a calendar with the dates when you should replace specific filters. Ray suggests you sign up for automatic delivery so you can exchange it once your new filter arrives. Filtrete also has an app that sends notifications to your phone when it’s time to change the filter, Hei notes, or you can set reminders in your phone. If it’s easier for you to combine filter maintenance with other seasonal tasks, for example, try changing the filter in your window air conditioner when you take it out in late summer or early fall so you’re ready to go next spring. .

As a rule of thumb, Ray says people should change an air filter every two to three months and a water filter every six months. Tenants should agree with their landlord whether they are responsible for replacing filters in appliances such as the air conditioner or ice maker.

After discovering the filter in his cats’ water fountain, John Ogden-McKee, the filter-happy cat owner, ordered eight filters and immediately installed a new one as soon as his order arrived. “I felt bad,” Ogden-McKee says. “I know they’re cats, but they drank this water that ran through this disgusting filter. I was like, I somehow failed the cats. “

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