Refrigerator manufacturers these days compete for your money by offering all sorts of flashy and high-tech fridge features. Yet, most people overlook a simple component that not all fridges have: the fridge air filter.
Some fridge models on the market come with a built-in air filter. That filter removes impurities, bacteria, and odors to keep the air inside the compartment fresh. Your food items will stay fresh and last significantly longer with better air quality. You’ll only need to clean your fridge air filters once in a while and replace them every 6 months.
If you’re unfamiliar with air filters in fridges, don’t worry. This guide has everything you need to know about them, including their benefits, how to clean them, and when to replace them.
Refrigerator Air Filters 101
Let’s start by exploring what benefits fridge air filters provide you, their effectiveness, and whether or not all fridge models have them.
Do All Refrigerators Have Air Filters?
No, air filters are not a standard feature in all refrigerators. So, you’ll have to check the product specifications or ask the seller if you want a fridge model that comes with an air filter.
Let’s suppose you want to check if your current fridge has an air filter. There are two ways you can do that.
Firstly, check the refrigerator compartment for the filter. You’ll typically find the filter on the rear panel, somewhere at the top. However, it’s essential to understand that the filter’s placement will differ depending on your fridge brand and model.
Secondly, you can also refer to your refrigerator documentation. For example, check the user manual and technical sheet to see if your fridge model has an air filter.
If your fridge has an air filter built into it, the manufacturer would have put information about it in those documents.
What Are The Benefits Of Refrigerator Air Filters?
Generally speaking, the air filter’s purpose is to remove impurities from the air circulating inside your fridge compartment.
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For the most part, it has the same purpose as any other air filter you might have around your home. However, the air filter in your refrigerator is tailored to help preserve the food that you keep inside the appliance.
Here are the benefits that having an air filter provides your fridge:
- Removes impurities: First and foremost, the air filter removes any dust, dirt, and impurities from the air circulating in the fridge compartment. Those impurities enter the fridge when you open the fridge door and let outside air into your fridge.
- Remove bacteria and odors: Those air filters also include materials that help to kill bacteria and remove odors from inside your fridge. That’s excellent news, especially for food items you plan to keep for a long time.
- Keep food fresh for longer: By removing impurities, bacteria, and odors from the air, refrigerator air filters effectively help your food to stay fresh for longer than if there was no filter.
- Reduces costs: When you combine all of the benefits above, you’ll find that air filters help you reduce costs. When things last longer in the fridge, you’ll have less wastage to worry about.
Do Refrigerator Air Filters Really Work?
Not only do refrigerator air filters work, but they also work much more effectively than other common solutions. For instance, refrigerator air filters are 15 times more powerful than baking soda for removing fridge odors.
Maintaining Your Refrigerator Air Filters
You’ll need to clean your refrigerator air filters from time to time. In this section, you’ll learn how to find them, clean them, and what will happen if you neglect those air filters.
Where Is The Air Filter Located In The Refrigerator?
Typically, you can find the air filter inside the refrigerator compartment itself. Manufacturers tend to place the filter against the rear compartment wall, closer to the top.
Still, the placement can differ between refrigerator brands and models. That’s why you should refer to the user manual to locate and identify the air filter in your particular refrigerator model.
How Do I Clean The Refrigerator Air Filter?
You should clean your refrigerator air filter every once in a while.
Here are the steps you can follow to do that:
- Firstly, gently remove the filter from your fridge.
- Then, tap the filter against the side of your trash can to shake off any large pieces of dust from the filter.
- Next, use a brush to remove any stubborn dust that won’t fall out from the filter.
- Alternatively, you could also use a vacuum on its lowest setting to suck up as much dust as possible from the air filter.
Let’s suppose you find your fridge air filter caked in dust. In that case, you can also soak the filter in water to clean it even more thoroughly.
But when you do that, you’ll have to let the filter air-dry naturally for at least 24 hours. Don’t put it in the fridge while it’s damp. The moisture will restrict airflow through the filter.
What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Refrigerator Air Filter?
When you fail to clean your refrigerator air filter regularly, it’ll quickly become saturated with dust and bacteria. That will restrict smooth airflow through the filter and force the fridge to use more energy to filter the air.
More importantly, a dirty air filter will fail to remove dust, bacteria, and odor from the air circulating inside the refrigerator compartment.
As you might imagine, that will make your refrigerator smell nasty and affect the quality of the food items you store inside.
Replacing Your Refrigerator Air Filters
Unlike most of your fridge components, you’ll have to replace the air filters from time to time. This section will help you understand how long you can expect a filter to last, what happens if you don’t replace them, and whether or not they’re universal.
How Long Does A Refrigerator Air Filter Last?
Refrigerator air filters typically last about 6 months. But, of course, the exact lifespan of your air filter will depend on several factors, like:
- The air filter’s quality.
- How well you maintain the filter.
- The air quality in your home.
Depending on where you live, you might not have a way to control the air quality inside your home.
However, you can still make your refrigerator air filter last as long as possible by cleaning it regularly.
When it comes time to buy a replacement, always stick to purchasing original air filters produced by your fridge manufacturer. Not only will that ensure the filter is compatible, but it also guarantees that the filter is of the highest quality.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Fridge Air Filter?
Suppose you don’t change your fridge air filter as you should. In that case, the filter will become saturated and clogged with dust, bacteria, and other impurities. That will lead to two adverse side effects.
Firstly, the air quality inside your refrigerator compartment will become worse. That is because the filter will struggle to keep the air clean and odorless, which affects your food negatively.
Secondly, a filter that’s saturated with impurities will not allow air to flow through it smoothly. That means your fridge will use much more energy than usual to pull air through that filter.
Any time your fridge uses more energy than it should, that will cost you more thanks to a higher power bill.
Are Refrigerator Air Filters Universal?
No, air filters are not all the same. They come in many different shapes and sizes, unique to individual fridge brands and models.
In some cases, the air filters might be ‘universal’ in the sense that a manufacturer uses the same air filter across many of its fridge models. However, that will still depend on the fridge and filter designs.
These days, you can find third parties that produce so-called ‘universal’ refrigerator air filters that fit many different fridge brands and models. While they might fit your fridge, it’s always best to stick to filters made and sold by your fridge manufacturer. That way, you can be sure that the filter was designed specifically for your fridge model and that it’ll fit and work correctly.