There are positive and negative sides to using a projector, like with any device or thing.
Arguably the most significant positive attachment to a projector is the sheer grandeur with which it presents visuals.
TVs don’t go that big. And when they do, they cost a pretty penny.
The bad thing about projectors is that they require continual supervision and upkeep. On the other hand, television can be set up, and you can forget about it.
The biggest pet peeve most people have with their Sony or other projectors is the air filter, for it quickly accumulates dirt and requires cleaning at regular intervals.
But how do you clean the air filter? And when does the filter reach a point of not being “cleanable” again?
Read on to find the answers to those questions and more.
Why Do I Need to Clean My Projector Filter?
Before learning why you should clean your projector filter, let’s first delineate the role of a filter in a projector.
A filter draws cool air into the projector through an intake vent to prevent the device from overheating.
Because chill air must be fresh and devoid of dust and grime, the filter embraces all the filth in the ambient air to let cool, relatively clean air through.
The filter gets clogged with all that muck and ceases to carry out its primary duties with time.
Cleaning the projector, therefore, becomes mandatory. Or be ready to experience the wrath of an overheating device.
Excessive heating can break your projector and its innards, including the lamp, requiring frequent parts replacements.
Although rare, the overheating could also lead to a minor fire.
How Do I Clean My Sony Projector Filter?
Before trying to clean your Sony projector, know where it’s exactly located.
(If you know the same already, ignore the information below and head straight to the cleaning steps.)
Since Sony makes a wide range of projectors with varied designs, the filter is likely to be not located in the same spot.
You may read the product manual to learn the exact location of the filter on your projector.
If that sounds like work, look for a grate or grill on the device. It could be located on any of the four sides, corners, or the top or bottom part of the projector.
If your Sony projector has multiple grills, look closely to see if you could see an air filter on the other side.
Once you’ve spotted the air filter, get down to cleaning it with these steps:
- First, turn off the projector and then unplug it. Don’t unplug it immediately if the device is fresh off a session. If you pull the cord too early, the bulb may damage its nearby components.
- After unplugging the projector, take the filter cover plate off when it’s safe to do so. If it’s screwed in place, remove its harnesses. Typically, the filter is hidden behind a cover that uses a pull-tab mechanism, which is pretty straightforward.
- Once you’ve removed the cover, take the filter out. Tap it against a wall or surface to dislodge dust and dirt that can quickly come off.
- Now, grab some canned air and blow it against the filter. You may also run your finger over to scrub off the filth if you do not mind getting your fingers dirty. And you can always enlist your vacuum cleaner for a mess-free job.
- Put the clean filter back into the projector once it’s thoroughly cleaned and is see-through again. Place the lid back on.
Make sure you’ve thoroughly cleaned the filter before putting it in. A well-cleaned filter is see-through.
If you’d like to see a video on how a projector filter is taken out of its housing and cleaned, here’s one:
The projector in the video above isn’t a Sony, but you get the idea.
A few words of caution and care!
Use soft hands and diligence when cleaning the filter. The last thing you’d want is to rub against the filter mesh so hard that it breaks and becomes no longer usable.
Also, do not use water, other liquids, or cleaning solution to tidy up the filter because fluids and electronics do not mix.
How Often Should You Clean the Filter?
It varies. The ideal cleaning frequency is monthly or 100 to 300 hours of clocked use. But if you’re a sporadic user, cleaning the filter once every six months or even a year may work.
However, do not go by the cleaning schedule strictly. Look for signs of a dirty filter. If the air quality in your place isn’t the best, the filter may accumulate dust a lot quicker than usual.
You don’t need to open the device and check the filter once every week. The dust build-up on the exhaust vent is a tell-tale sign.
Your projector could also give out a warning sign on the screen indicating a filter clean-up. The message could be something like, “Please clean the filter.”
And on the projector itself, the filter light may flash.
The dust from the filter could also settle onto the lens, resulting in distorted images or dull colors. That’s another sign that the projector filter needs a cleanup.
Be a bit more proactive and not wait until the projector (directly or indirectly) communicates to you about the dirty filter since it’s likely to send that message when the filter is usually wholly mucked up.
Waiting to clean the filter until that point may not be the ideal approach.
Also, it’s recommended that you clean the filter irrespective of whether you use the projector or not.
The fact that it’s out in the open, exposed to the environment, is a good enough reason to clean the filter.
How Do I Replace the Filter on My Sony Projector?
Replacing the filter can provide a new lease of life to your projector. But make sure the replacement is warranted, or you’ll not see much of a performance improvement.
A filter cannot be cleaned and reused anymore when it’s damaged or has soiling that doesn’t come off by either vacuuming, air-blowing, or finger-scrubbing.
If you’ve reached that stage with your Sony projector filter, it’s time to change it.
The steps to replace the filter on your projector are identical to how you’d go about cleaning the component.
The only difference is that instead of cleaning the filter, you’ll discard the old filter and put the new filter inside the device.
Here’s a video demonstrating the same:
Again, the projector in the video isn’t a Sony device. But the steps shall be pretty similar to how you’ll do it on your projector.
1. Should you buy a new projector lamp when replacing the filter?
No, you need not.
Although the filter plays a crucial role in keeping the lamp relatively cool and functioning optimally, they don’t work as a team or are pretty independent of each other.
The need to change the filter arises a lot more frequently than a lamp change. Changing the filter every three or four months is recommended (may vary based on use pattern, of course).
On the other hand, a projector lamp is good for at least 1,500 hours. If you use your projector four hours daily, seven days a week, that’s a lifespan of more than a year.
That said, when it’s time to change the lamp, it’s invariably appropriate to replace (or at least clean) the filter too.
2. Do you need special tools to clean the projector filter?
Contrary to what some companies may want you to believe, you can clean projector filters without any custom tools. Perhaps the only “tool” you’d need is an air-filled canister.
If you don’t have one handy already, here are some for your consideration:
- AFMAT Cordless Air Duster
- Falcon Dust-Off Electronics Compressed Gas Duster
- ALPTHY Electric Cordless Air Duster
You won’t need compressed air cans if you have a portable vacuum cleaner.
As mentioned above, you may also use your hands to clean the filter. But let that not be the primary cleaning method you employ.
3. Can you use any filter with any Sony projector?
No, you cannot. Projector filters are indeed user-removable, but they aren’t interchangeable.
Filters used on different projectors, including various Sony devices, are usually not of the same size and form. Some could be rectangular, and others may be a lot more squarish.
Not to mention, the projectors would be custom-designed to accommodate those different filters.
To clean your Sony projector filter is a relatively simple task but critical. Do not let the non-complex nature and brevity usher in a callous approach.
A dirty filter or one that’s not regularly cleaned is a recipe for an overheating, underperforming projector.
If you’ve never cleaned a projector filter before, or if it’s your first time using a Sony projector, make sure you create a filter cleaning schedule and stick to it.
And since we’ve laid down the step to clean or replace a projector in this article, you have zero excuses to overlook the task.
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.