Tomorrow, September 22, is officially the first day of fall—even if it doesn't feel like it where you are. You don't have to wait for the temperatures to change, however, to get a jump start on some seasonal home maintenance.
This weekend, we're going to take a look at some of our home's quietly hardworking equipment—filters—and prepare to turn things over. Dirty or clogged filters are usually the culprit for many home appliance struggles, like vacuum cleaners that won't suck or air conditioners that aren't cooling.
Checking and replacing those filters is the best way to keep your gear in great shape. This weekend is a chance to place the order or make the switch.
Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you've always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.
This Weekend's Assignment:
Clean or replace your filters.
How do you know when a filter needs to be changed?
It's different for every appliance. If you can track down the manufacturer recommendations, follow the suggestions there to keep your gear in great shape. Chances are they'll recommend a regular schedule for cleaning or replacement, which you can condense or extend to reflect how often you use that appliance. Some devices are equipped with indicator lights to let you know when their filter needs to be changed.
Otherwise, you can usually tell by sight or feel (or in the case of water filters, taste). Air filters, for example, will become discolored as they're used. Vacuums will begin to lose suction as their filters clog up.
For this weekend's project, walk around your home or review the list below. Take a peek at the filters and see if they're OK. Review your home maintenance schedule or records. And if you can't remember the last time that filter got some attention, that probably means it's time for a replacement.
Some filters that you can check on:
- The air filter in your air conditioner or HVAC system
- The filter in your humidifier, dehumidifier or air purifier
- The filter in your vacuum
- The filter in your water pitcher or coffee maker
- The water or air filters in your refrigerator
- The range hood filter, or the filter on your over-the-range microwave
- The food filter over your dishwasher's drain
- Your dryer's lint screen (you should be clearing this regularly, but you can give it a proper and thorough clean right now)
- The dryer vent
Make a note of filters that need changing, then make a trip to the store, or check out with a cart online. If you already have the filters handy, use this weekend to replace them.
Some filter maintenance pro tips:
- As you buy and replace the filters, make a note in your phone's notes app with the size specifications for each filter. This way you'll have that information handy next time you're at the store, or shopping online at your desk.
- If there's a good spot on or near the filter to document the date when you replace it, do that.
- When you're done, set yourself a calendar reminder for the next scheduled replacement and stay on top of things.
Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we've sent you, or tackle another project you've been meaning to get to. It's also completely okay to skip a weekend if you're busy or not feeling the assignment.