How Filtration Plays an Important Role in Allergy Defense

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

Let’s talk indoor allergies. Most of us think that people with allergies suffer mostly during the spring and summer months. That’s not necessarily true. They also suffer during the winter months as well. Did you know that there is an estimated 50 million people who suffer with either indoor or outdoor allergies? Some suffer with both. If you suffer with indoor allergies, there are steps that you can take to help relieve the symptoms. The biggest challenge of course is in identifying the allergens that trigger the symptoms. Using proper filtration in your home is the first step in finding relief from whatever indoor allergen (dust, dust mites, molds, pet dander) that is making you miserable!

Whether you are stuck inside your home during the cold winter months or getting ready to start enjoying flowers blooming in the spring, having a high-efficiency media filter with a MERV rating of 11 or 12 in your furnace or air conditioning unit is a must! You want to be using an air filter that captures at least 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, or larger.

One major trigger for indoor allergies is dust. If dust is your enemy, having a great media filter that will help remove particulates floating around in your home is the way to go.  Remember to use a damp cloth when dusting so that you aren’t just spreading the dust around, sending it airborne. Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter also helps to capture the dust that has settled on your floors or carpets after dusting furniture. Also, keep those air vents and air returns clean. If you change your air filter at least every three months, you will help keep the air clean year round in your home. Another thing to consider is to have your heating and air conditioner units inspected and serviced every six months.

If you are having problems with humidity in your home, using a hygrometer to measure the humidity is helpful. You want the humidity level below 55%. If you live in a state where it is humid and sticky (like Florida), a dehumidifier might give you some relief.

Whatever indoor allergies you may suffer with, know that relief is just a filter away!  Defend yourself by finding out what will work best for you by visiting and start getting that well deserved good night sleep!

Water Crisis: Seeking Answers to our Sewage Problem

Image Credit:

Image Credit:

How appealing does drinking poop water sound? Your answer is not very likely, and if offered a glass you would say no. But for 750 million people in the world today, that is a question answered every day as communities collect their water from rivers or streams where sewage has contaminated the water. The cause of this problem is 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. Additionally, 2 billion people use toilets connected to septic tanks which are improperly emptied into areas where water contamination can occur. The World Economic Forum ranks the water crisis as being the number 1 risk currently facing society. Its apparent in all our lives that clean water is important which is why Bill Gates, one of the world’s most widely recognized innovators and philanthropists, wants us to say yes to the poop water question.

In emergency preparedness literature, they explain that if your home is connected to a municipal water source you could drink from the water tank (not from the bowl) on your toilet if absolutely necessary. After all, the water entering your toilet is the same water you get from your faucet. Think about that for a moment. Our toilet water is cleaner than the waterways that 750 million people access to drink. If those people had the same quality water going into our bathrooms, we could prevent an estimated 700,000 child deaths every year.

When thinking about where we get our drinking water it is important to know that 2.5% of total water on Earth is freshwater, with less than 1% of that being readily accessible to humans.  With news reports focused on lingering droughts and ever increasing demand for resources, safe water becomes all the more important. For many countries who can’t afford the infrastructure to control the flow of waste and fresh water, a need for new solutions are required using practical technologies that are both cost effective and efficient.

Fueling the Future of Sanitation

Sewage contains 20% biomass and about 80% water. Now imagine a machine that burns biomass as fuel. In this machine raw sewage is dried. The resulting sludge is boiled to separate out the water. As the process continues, an incinerator burns the remaining solids to produce high-temperatures and high-pressure steam which drives an engine to generates electricity which in turn runs the machine. The resulting water vapor is then filtered to remove additional substances. The by-product of this entire process is purified drinking water, excess power for use in local communities, and ash that can be used as fertilizer. That is exactly how Janicki Bioenergy’s Omni Processor works, and it is being pioneered by Microsoft creator Bill Gates. You might have seen Bill’s appearance on Jimmy Fallon where he challenged the Tonight Show host to pick and drink one of two glasses of water then guess whether it came from a bottle or was poop water, a term coined to bring attention to the concept of converting sewage to safe drinking water in about 5 minutes. After Bill and Jimmy each downed a glass it was revealed both were filled with water sourced from the omni processor located in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where the prototype is currently located.

For Bill Gates, the pursuit to reinvent how we deal with waste began in 2011 when the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation challenged eight universities to the Toilet Challenge. Each university was given $400,000 to develop a toilet that: Removes harmful waste and recovers resources such as energy, water and nutrients; operates ‘off the grid’; costs less than 5 cents per day; promotes sustainable and financially profitable sanitation services; and is a next-generation product that both the wealthy and developing nations want to use. Each university approached the challenge in unique ways. For example, The California Institute of Technology (who won the top prize) used solar panels to power an electro-chemical reaction that breaks down waste and stores excess energy for night-time operation.

While new toilet technology can reduce the harmful effects of waste, it didn’t solve the infrastructure problem many countries face. Bill Gates and his team at Janicki Bioenergy are betting on the success of the omni processor as it aims to meet the needs in both rural and urban environments. The first prototype, the S100, is a proof of concept that costs about $1.5 million, significantly less than sewer lines and processing plants. The machine is capable of handling sewage for a community of 100,000 people and produces 2,800 gallons of drinking water and between 100 and 250 Kw net electricity per day. Each machine requires only one or two operators at any given time and could pay for itself by selling excess electricity and fertilizer. A second prototype, the S200, will processes around 7 times more sewage while only being 20% bigger in size.

The Clean Water Conclusion

It is said that for every $1 invested into better sanitation, $5 in social and economic benefits are created through the reduction of healthcare costs and increased productivity. This is especially true for women and children who spend an estimated 140 million hours a day searching for and collecting water. Economic benefits are great but saving lives is better. Cutting down on disease and making clean water less scarce presents new opportunities to parts of the world struggling to meet their most basic needs.

The goal is to roll out thousands of omni processors in the near future combined with newer toilet technology to drive community entrepreneurship and innovate the way we currently deal with sewage. Not only in developing countries but within all communities regardless of region or socio-economic status as we look to a sustainable future.

Would I drink poo water? Yes.

Troubleshooting Tips- How to Change Refrigerator Filter


Changing your refrigerator water filter is easy, but that doesn’t mean it can’t come with a set of challenges. Below we’ll give you common issues that arise when replacing your refrigerator water filter and troubleshooting tips for each one.

If you have your own troubleshooting advice, feel free to leave them in the comments below. If you feel like we missed anything, let us know and we’ll gladly add it in!

Common Installation Mistakes

First off, let’s start with common installation mistakes that could cause the installation of your new filter to go less than smoothly:

  1. Protective caps not removed from your new filter. Prior to installing your new refrigerator filter, remember to remove any protective caps from it.
  2. Failure to flush the filter. Many forget to do this, but it should never be forgotten. You can find out how and why to flush your filter here.
  3. For base-grill filters, don’t throw away the reusable knob, you may need it later!

Now let’s get into the troubleshooting!

Refrigerator not dispensing water after replacing filter

If this happens, then the water filter is most likely not snapped in all the way. If you feel that it is, and you’re still having issues, it could be the water valve leading to the refrigerator. To check, re-install the old filter. If water comes of the old filter and not the new filter, then there is an installation problem with the new filter and not the water valve. If water does not come out of the old or new filter, then the problem is the water valve.

Small Drip or Leak after installing the filter

Remove the fridge filter and re-fit it into the refrigerator with a sharp twist to lock into position.

Water Flow is Irregular

If this happens, there is likely still air in the lines. Press down the dispenser lever for 2 minutes until the water starts to flow freely.

Difficulty with removing or installing filter

There is no secret to this. Sometimes all that is needed is a little extra force. For removal, the problem is sometimes pulling the filter down and out. Try rocking the filter sideways while pulling down, this should work. TIP: Remove the top shelf from the refrigerator as its sudden release could cause damage. For installation, apply more force and keep turning to lock into position.

Water tastes different

Refrigerator water filters cannot add anything to the taste of water as they only remove chemicals and contaminants from your water. The older the fridge filter is that you are replacing, the more likely you are to notice a taste difference as your drinking water is now under greater (and more effective) filtration that it had been.

Water filter appears to be clogged, before its time to be replaced

Depending on water quality and usage, your refrigerator water filter may not last the full 6-months. If your water flow starts to slow, it could be clogged and would need to be replaced. Of course, if you have experienced a sudden drop of water quality (could be caused by a number of factors/situations) it is best to determine exactly what is wrong by conducting a water test. You can do this yourself, or have your municipal water source supply you with the information.

Related articles:

How to Change Your Refrigerator Water Filter

Flushing Your Refrigerator Water Filter: How and Why You Should Do It

Resetting Your Refrigerator Indicator Light