Q: My new refrigerator wants me to change the water filter. They cost $50 and last just a year. Old fridges never required this. How important is it to do this yearly?

— Jane ?Umstead, ?Seville

A: Dan Todd, owner of J&B Appliance in Twinsburg, said you may not have to replace it yearly. How often you should do it depends on how much water and ice you consume and the quality of your water. Filters have different capacities, he said. After a filter treats the volume of water it’s designed to handle, its effectiveness starts to diminish. One common size of filter is designed to treat 200 gallons of water. If you have a big family, you’d probably go through 200 gallons in a year, Todd said. A single person or a couple probably wouldn’t. The quality of your water also has a bearing, he said. You’ll want to replace the filter more often if you have well water than if you have city water or a water softener. Todd said that even if you’re a light user with good water, he wouldn’t wait longer than two years to replace the filter.

Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.