The projector filter is responsible for the filtration of dust and debris on the vents of your projector so that they don’t enter the unit and destroy it from within. The filter makes sure that even though the device requires an open vent to allow temperature release, it doesn’t have to deal with the blowback of sucking in dust from within itself. With that said, a filter still needs to be cleaned before its vents are completely blocked by dust and debris. Once the filter is covered in filth, it can serve as a blockade that keeps your cooling system from performing at 100 percent of its capacity.
Just as you’d regularly sweep your home’s floor or window screen so that it’s spic-and-span, so too should you do the same with a projector filter. In a lot of ways, it’s just like air-conditioner maintenance. You have to clean up the filters and vents of your A/C to allow it to work excellently for a longer period of time. That’s also the deal with the filter for your projector.
How to Clean Your Projector Filter Properly
As time passes by, the projector will gather dust on its air filter, thus necessitating cleanup. Some projector models are advanced enough to give you warning beeps or notifications that your filter needs cleaning. However, you should clean the filter as part of your regular projector maintenance process regardless. To wit, here are the things you should do to go about cleaning your filter.
- Turn Off The Projector: Turn off the projector first. If it was recently used, let it cool off first by about half an hour or more. Gently turn it over when it’s cool enough to touch. Don’t clean anything on your projector if it’s been recently used. This should be the rule you should follow for many electronics in your home. The reason for this is because your device is more vulnerable in this state. It should be unplugged as well from both the wall socket and the DVD or Blu-Ray player for safety’s sake. You want to avoid getting electrocuted as well. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
- Pull Out The Filter and Clean It: Once you’ve turned off the cooled-down projector, unplugged the power cord, and removed it from its link to the media player, then you can turn your attention to the filter itself. Pull out the filter then clean it. Use a brush, blow on it, wipe it with a dry cloth, and so forth. The main thing you should avoid, however, is to tear the mesh filter. Don’t wash it, soak it, or get it wet. When brushing the filter in order to remove the dust, you should do so in a gentle and thorough manner. Don’t leave any corner unbrushed but don’t brush so hard that you end up tearing through the mesh. You should also use a small vacuum to suck up the dust.
- The Tools You Can Use for Cleaning: The vacuum can be bought at an electronics store. They’re usually the type with a USB plug that you can plug unto your PC or directly unto a wall socket to make them work. They’re pluggable to computer USB ports because they’re typically used to clean out the keyboards and whatnot of desktops or laptops. As for the brush, don’t use a stiff brush since that could damage the mesh of the filter. Use a small brush instead, such as a paintbrush. Don’t clean the filter while it’s still attached to the projector. It’s preferable that you remove it by sliding it out or unscrewing its bolts to be able to clean both sides of it.
- Why Rinsing or Soaking The Filter Is a Bad Idea: It’s a bad idea to rinse or soak the filter since that could lead to it corroding. Don’t use detergent or solvent to wash it either. Those non-mild cleaning agents could also damage or weaken the mesh when all is said and done. What’s more, detergent is infamous for leaving out soapy residue that’s as hard as or even harder to remove than the dust itself. As much as possible, your cleaning of the filter and mesh should be done in as dry a manner as possible. Don’t use damp tissue either since that leaves bits of tissue all over the wire mesh of the filter as well.
- To Use or Not to Use Canned Air: Some guides recommend that you use canned air to clean mesh wire filters. Others don’t. The thing about this is that there are some canned air products that leave a residue that can damage the filter. What’s more, the pressure from such cans can be powerful enough to poke holes on these filters as well. You should find canned air that leaves zero residues in them, particularly the ones recommended for filter cleaning. You should also use them in short bursts around 6 inches away from the filter to avoid blasting air so strong that it could damage the mesh. However, some might err on the side of caution and not use canned air at all because of the residue risk.
- Finishing Up and Filter Shopping: Once the filter is clean, you can gently slide it back to its slot or return it in however the way it’s supposed to be returned. Also, close the air filter cover. You’ve now saved your LCD/DLP/LCoS projector from overheating. The bulb should last longer too now that there’s less of a risk for overheating. Remember, a clean filter is a happy projector user. If any complications were to happen on the filter, contact the installer or manufacturer. Otherwise, replace the filter yourself by buying a replacement on Amazon or from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). The extra filters are usually sold separately from the unit.
- Having a Professional Clean Your Filter: Some people lack the time, patience, or skill to clean projector filters on their own. The particularly rich people out there don’t even bother cleaning the filter at all, electing to instead either buy a new model of projector altogether to graduate from 1080p to 4K resolution or to have someone else change filters for them. There are also those that have spare filters in storage so that as soon as the filter gets dirty, they simply pull that out and pull in a new filter in its place. However, there are the stingy people who’ll patiently clean a filter every time until it the very end, where they’re “forced” to buy new people. The majority of consumers are usually stuck in the middle between these two extremes.
- Regarding Difficult-to-Remove Dust: If the dust is too hard to remove from the filter then don’t resort to soaking the filter in the cleaning solution to clean it. It’s better and cheaper to simply replace the filter instead. It’s made to be replaceable anyway. Additionally, this is also your option in case the air filter has been damaged for whatever reason, whether there are tears or holes in it or you’ve brushed it too hard, causing it to get ripped apart by your own overzealous cleaning. Besides which, air filters only last so long before they need replacement anyway, so don’t feel too bad about replacing them.
- Dispose of Filters Properly: Take note that filters for projectors contain polypropylene. This means that you should dispose of them according to local regulations in your city or state. Replace the new air filter unto the slot the same way you’d replace the old filter. If it’s a more customizable filter, you might need to cut it up first to get it at the right size that could fit on the slot as well. As a rule of thumb, even when regularly cleaning a filter, it’s impossible to remove all the dust on it. It will build up over time despite your best efforts, thus necessitating replacement when the time comes. Even if you’ve just cleaned the filter, replace it if it’s been damaged or if you can’t remove the dust on it any longer.
What Is a Projector Filter Anyway?
The projector filter is the part of your projector where the air comes out because the internal blowers or fans of the device are releasing the internal hotness and high temperatures of the appliance. Without the filter, the open vents will regularly have dust and debris enter them. You need the filters to keep the dust-out and to release all that heat as well. With that said, the filter is removable and replaceable to make the job of maintenance easier. If the filter becomes too dirty after lengthy use such that it’s damaged, you should definitely get a replacement.
Don’t take chances since a filter is directly connected with the cooling system of your projector. You can purchase general or universal projector foam filters off of websites like Amazon. You can choose filter sizes that range from 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters or 4 inches by 4 inches and beyond. They’re typically 3 millimeters thick or less as well. They can even be cut apart to fit your original filter size. However, it’s usually better to pay the full amount for an OEM filter to ensure projector compatibility and product quality when all is said and done.