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10 Filters and Vents to Clean in 2021January 22nd, 2021 by
You may know that maintenance professionals and manufacturers recommend changing filters every three to six months, but do you know how many filters your home actually has?
Vacuums, dryers, kitchen appliances, heating, cooling, and ventilation: These appliances and systems need to be serviced regularly to perform optimally. Cleaning or replacing these filters should be part of any effective home maintenance routine, but sometimes even the most persistent cleaners may forget to check them often enough.
Find out how often you should replace the filters and vents around your home:
Remember these common appliances:
- Refrigerators: Many homeowners enjoy the convenience of having a built-in water dispenser or ice maker in the fridge. Both must have a filter to properly eliminate contaminants and impurities that can cause bad taste. You should replace these filters at least once per year. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions. Your water supply line should also be checked regularly and replaced if there’s evidence of wear to prevent potential leaks and flooding.
- Dishwasher: Most people assume that cleaning a dishwasher is not needed. Shouldn’t the machine become sufficiently cleaned when it washes the dishes? Unfortunately, failing to maintain your device can result in poor performance. Newer-model dishwashers have self-cleaning filters that automatically get rid of food particles. However, some older models use a manual filter, which should be cleaned every week. Remove the filter from the machine and clean out any visible debris. Wash it with soap and water to remove any lingering food particles. Filters should be replaced at least once a year.
Many types of home equipment rely on air filtration to function effectively:
- Air purifiers: You can’t get clean air if your purifier has a dirty filter. A clog can significantly impact the air purifier’s functionality or cause it to stop working altogether. The quality of air inside your home can even become compromised if you don’t replace the filter on a regular basis. Reference your purifier’s owner’s manual for specifications on how often to replace it. In general, wick air filters need to be replaced every two months, carbon filters every six months, and HEPA filters once a year.
- Cooktop vents: Many newer cooktop vents, whether in a separate range hood, a built-in microwave, or in the stove itself as a downdraft system, feature visual or audible signals to let you know when the filter needs to be changed. Whether you have a maintenance alert or not, though, experts recommend inspecting and cleaning the filter at least once every three months. To clean it, remove it from its housing, and let it soak in a bucket filled with soap and hot water. Use a washcloth to remove any residual grease. Let the filter air dry before reinstalling it in the hood. You should purchase a replacement if you can’t remove the accumulated grease.
- Clothes dryers: Dirty lint filters can cause a whole host of problems, including prolonged drying times, lint buildup in the dryer’s duct, or even premature failure of components. You should clean your dryer’s lint trap between every load of laundry, especially if you use the machine daily. Inspect the dryer’s cabinet and duct every three months to check for lint buildup, potentially a fire hazard.
- Vacuums: Many people neglect the filters in their vacuum cleaner, even if they use the machine on a routine basis. A clog can cause your cleaner to lose suction or even spew dust back out. Vacuum filters should be changed at least every six months. The filter for a bagless model should be changed after every use.
- Humidifiers: A humidifier is a great asset to have in your home, especially if you tend to get dry eyes or dry mouth. Not only do humidifiers add much-needed moisture to the air inside your home, but they can help eliminate airborne illness from the air. To keep them working, you should clean their air filters every few months. If you cannot easily scrub off the residue, you should purchase a new one.
Don’t neglect your vital heating and cooling systems:
- Center air conditioning and heating systems: Many homeowners have a combined forced air cooling and heating system. Refer to your unit’s manufacturer for specific instructions if you have a new model. Generally, the thicker the disposable filter, the less often it needs to be replaced. Many systems need to be cleaned every six months, while others only require replacement once a year, but you may find that factors such as local air quality and seasonality may introduce more or fewer particles into your home—and your filter.
- Window air conditioning units: There are filters in window air conditioning units, just as in central air systems. Many modern units come with a filter alert to signal when a replacement is needed. If your unit does not have an indicator, make a point to clean the filter once every two months, or once a month if you live in a warm climate and use the unit year-round. It is sufficient to wash most of these filters with warm water and soap, though you will need to replace them if you cannot easily remove the residue.
- Furnaces: Dirty gas or electrical furnaces can restrict airflow and even cause damage to the unit. You should replace the disposable filter as often as your manufacturer recommends. Most models should be replaced at least once a year, while others should be changed more often. When you take out the old filter, write down the size and the direction of the airflow. Both will be indicated on the filter. Many people make the mistake of putting new filters in backward, which can cause your system to run rough.
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If you are in the market for vetted handyman services, contact Five Star Rated today. We offer a digital platform for home service professionals in many industries, including air conditioning, heating, electrical, garage door repair, plumbing, and roofing installation. Any professional can assist you in cleaning or replacing the filters and vents around your home. If you choose a contractor through our website, we guarantee you will receive the best service possible. Visit our website today to be connected with a licensed, professional contractor in your local area.
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