Filtrete Smart Air Filter Review
We have plenty of smart home tech that does amazing things – turn our lights on when we enter a room, remind us if we left a window open, let us open and close our garage door from New Zealand. But technology can help with more mundane tasks too.
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If you have a central heating and/or cooling system in your home, chances are you need to change the filter from time to time. How do you remember when to change it? Do you write it on your calendar? Do you change it like clockwork every three months? Do you change it when the seasons change? Or do you wait until it gets dark brown and you can see the dust hanging off of it in the hallway?
We have probably used all of these methods at one time or another. We all know that changing the air filters regularly helps keep your system running smoothly, and if you have allergies or pets, using a high-quality filter helps keep the air in your home cleaner and safer for you and your family. But that doesn’t mean you always remember to change them.
When we first got our Nest thermostat, we noticed a reminder to change your filters. This is better than some of the other less technical methods, but it is really just another timer, in an app that you may not pay that much attention to every day. Once we set up our Nest, it learned our patterns and adjusts our temperature automatically, so there’s no need to look at the app.
The Ecobee smart thermostat takes the reminder to the next level by allowing you to subscribe to their home delivery service, so you can set up a schedule for filters to arrive right at your door when you need them.
But neither of these services really give you feedback about your air quality, or tell you when you really need to change your filter.
Filtrete Smart Air Filters
Enter the Filtrete Smart Air Filters. These air filters include a Bluetooth sensor that monitors the air flow and air quality in your system to let you know when you really need to replace each filter you have in the system (we have three).
We first saw these filters at CES 2018 and we’ve been using them ever since. They are really easy to install – just download the app to your phone, remove the tab, pair the filter to the app, then install the filter as you normally would. The app walks you through the process. Each time your phone passes near the filter the service level is updated in your app via bluetooth.
Now the Filtrete app lets us know when it’s time to replace each filter individually. We generally get a warning when the filter has about 20% remaining, which gives us plenty of time to order a new one if we don’t have any extras already. The app also includes a screen that shows you the remaining life of the filter.
It has been interesting to see how long our filters have been lasting, and the difference in performance between the different areas in the house. There is no history of replacement available in the app, but it seems like we go through them about every three months for the main house filter downstairs and 4 to 6 months for the other two which are located in a bedroom and upstairs.
Monitoring our air quality
The Filtrete app also gives us real time data about our local air quality. Since we live in California, almost every year we get forest fires and sometimes the air can get pretty bad. Back in August 2018 we had some really destructive fires and you can see the poor air quality reflected in the app.
Ordering new filters
You can order your replacement filters right from the Filtrete app or from your favorite local home improvement store. We found Lowes has the best selection in store or online. Of course you can get them from Amazon and even sign up for Amazon Dash replacement that will automatically order new filters for you.
Lots of choices to keep your family healthy
The Filtrete Smart Air Filters come in many different types depending on your budget and health concerns. In general, the larger numbers block more types of particles and allergens.
Filtrete rates the filters by two types of standards. MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the industry standard and measures particle capture from 1 (lease efficient) to 16 (very efficient). Filtrete also uses MPR or Microparticle Performance Rating, to rate the microparticle capture rating. They claim that their filters capture particles between 0.3 and 1 micron in size, including bacteria and viruses.
Probably the hardest part about using the Filtrete Smart Filters is figuring out how to buy. We originally thought Filtrete was going to be the brand name just for the smart filters, but 3M now has most of their air filters branded with the Filtrete name. The smart filters can be hard to find in stores, and even almost three years later store clerks don’t know they exist. We find that ordering them online makes it easiest to get the filters we want.
While the Filtrete app is easy to use, we’d love to see them add the ability to add a second account to the filter. That way we could both know when we need to replace them, or we could monitor our mom’s filter on our phone as well as hers.
Since the Filtrete filters use Bluetooth, we need to pass by them occasionally with our phone to get the system updates. It would be nice if they added some kind of remote monitoring, to allow tracking in a vacation home or at a loved one’s home.
We’d love to see our replacement history so we can learn more about how our system works. It would be interesting to see if we use more filters in the summer or winter and how much the air quality impacts how long they last.
Finally, it would be great if the Filtrete Smart Filters integrated with our Nest Thermostat so we could really get a good idea of our home’s indoor air quality and see how it impacts our energy efficiency.
We love our Filtrete Smart Filters and look forward to many more years of use. While it would be great if they add new features, they are definitely an improvement over all the manual methods we used before.