Frequently Asked Questions
On filters, carbon, manufacturing, bad kitties, and product names
About disposable filters
So what’s in those disposable filters anyway?
The standard replacement filters for your fountain contain a few teaspoons of activated carbon, which is worth $0.08 – $0.31, depending on the filter. This carbon absorbs certain impurities, keeping the water tasting, smelling, and looking fresh. Once the carbon becomes saturated, it stops absorbing and the water starts to get funky. The standard filters also have meshes which capture debris and help keep the carbon inside the filter. That’s it!
About the Forever Filter
What’s a Forever Filter?
The Forever Filter is a reusable, refillable filter upgrade for your Drinkwell® pet fountain. It addresses the shortcomings of the disposable filters, namely: expense, clogging, and waste.
What’s in the Forever Filter?
Nothing! It starts out empty, and you fill it (and re-fill it) with activated carbon. The Forever Filter includes a supply of activated carbon, so you can start using it right away.
Where is it made?
The Forever Filter for Drinkwell 360 is made in the USA. The caps are 3D-printed in California, and the glass body is made by a family-owned lab glass fabrication company in Virginia.
The Forever Filters for Drinkwell hy-drate, Avalon, Pagoda & Sedona are made in the USA. The parts are injection-molded in Minnesota.
Why is it so expensive?
“It’s just a 50-cent piece of plastic, right?” In an age when we’re all used to inexpensive items made in China or elsewhere, that’s not an ungrounded sentiment. However, the Forever Filter is made in the USA, by a very small company, and in small volumes (at least compared to the number of fountains made by Drinkwell!)
The price of the filter reflects:
- the cost of development (design, prototyping, tooling, molds, etc.) In the case of the filters for Avalon, Pagoda, Sedona, and hy-drate, the plastic injection molds cost tens of thousands of dollars. In the case of the filter for 360, the cost of materials alone is over $10 per filter.
- the cost of production (materials, manufacturing time, packaging, labeling, shipping of parts, etc.)
- the cost to sell at retail. Amazon’s cut is about $7 per filter sold.
- the relatively low production volumes. Forever Filters are made by the thousands, not the millions!
- the need to make a profit.
- the need to pay taxes on that profit. The IRS’s cut is about $2 per filter sold.
The value you receive from using the Forever Filter (via savings in the long term) well exceeds the initial cost
Why buy the Forever Filter?
To save money
Keeping your pet’s water tasting fresh is important, but replacing disposable filters every 2 weeks as recommended can cost as much as $100 per year, depending on the fountain. When you refill your own filter you only replace the part of the filter that’s worn out: the activated carbon. The amount of carbon needed to refill the filter every 2 weeks for a year costs $2-$8, depending on the filter.
To create less waste
Why throw out the whole filter when it’s only the carbon that needs to be replaced?
To keep the fountain’s pump running longer
Standard filters clog easily, and when they do they obstruct water flow, straining the fountain’s pump. The Forever Filter resists clogging, allowing the pump to run without straining. Less clogging also means better water flow, which means consistent fountain action. That’s why you bought your pet a fancy fountain, isn’t it? Fountain Action!
Really? It won’t clog?
The Forever Filter will clog if you don’t keep the fountain clean enough. Anything that can clog the pump will also clog the filter, so keep debris, such as plant leaves, dirt, lint, etc. away from the fountain and be sure to disassemble and clean the fountain regularly. If you notice reduced water flow, it’s time to clean the pump and/or the filter.
How do I use the Forever Filter?
Simply empty and clean the Forever Filter, then fill it with activated carbon. Place it in the fountain as you do the standard filters.
About activated carbon
Where do I buy activated carbon?
Activated carbon is a common, inexpensive aquarium supply found at pet stores and on Amazon.com (see below for a link to a recommended brand of activated carbon.) The Forever Filter includes a supply of activated carbon, so you can start using it right away.
What type of carbon do you recommend?
We recommend Acurel Extreme. Buy it now on Amazon >
How much carbon should I buy?
A 23 oz jar of Acurel Extreme, which sells for around $9, will yield:
- 20 refills with the Forever Filter for Avalon, Pagoda, & Sedona
- 45 refills with the Forever Filter for 360
- 75 refills with the Forever Filter for hy-drate
How do I clean the Forever Filter?
The same way you clean the fountain itself.
You do clean the fountain, don’t you? It’s important to wash the filter inside and out and rinse any debris off of the meshes. However, a clean filter in a filthy fountain doesn’t do much good: since the water circulates to every part of the fountain, you need to clean the fountain as well. The Forever Filter will not clean your fountain for you! If you’re satisfied with your cleaning method for your fountain, then the same method should be fine for the filter.
I dunk my fountain in a 5-gallon bucket of bleach and then sterilize it in an autoclave every 3 days…
The Forever Filter is not designed to be cleaned with strong chemicals or abrasive materials, or to be subjected to extreme temperatures. If that’s the sort of cleaning method that satisfies you then you should find a kinder, gentler way to clean the filter. A dishwasher does a nice job.
Is it dishwasher-safe?
Yes, but it’s top-rack safe only.
What does “top-rack safe” mean?
It means an item can withstand the hot water in a dishwasher, but can’t withstand the heat from the drying cycle if it’s too close to the heating element. If you’ve ever melted a sports bottle or a Rubbermaid / Tupperware container in your dishwasher, you know what this is about.
The dishwasher’s heated drying feature can melt plastic. A dishwasher has a heating element, much like an electric oven’s, that’s used to dry the dishes quickly. This heating element is on the bottom, so plastic or delicate items have to be placed in the top rack to keep them far enough away from the heating element. If you run your dishwasher without heated drying (sometimes called the “energy saver” setting) your Forever Filter should be safe anywhere in your dishwasher, but why take chances?
What about the “sterilize” setting on my dishwasher?
The high temperatures reached in this setting are likely to damage the filter. Do not use high-temperature settings if your Forever Filter is in the dishwasher.
Can I clean the filter in boiling water?
No! The plastic parts might become deformed.
Will it last forever?
What’s in a name?
When the first Forever Filter was ready to be sold, it remained nameless. A name had to be chosen. A name was chosen. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. Things have gone too far now to change the name.
OK, but will it last forever?
The Forever Filter is made to be as durable as your fountain. However, things happen: glass breaks, plastic melts or gets chewed up (I’m looking at you, kitty!) caps get lost, and occasionally there is a flaw or defect.
If you encounter a problem with your filter, simply email us and we will happily send a replacement part, most often free of charge.