How Do I Know if I Need to Change HEPA Filter?

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Deciding the best time to replace an older HEPA filter can be difficult.

There are numerous considerations, such as the time of usage, pollutant levels, the filter’s position, and humidity.

The recommended interval for replacement of your HEPA filter is from 3 and 6 months. This is a wide range.

It is recommended that a filter be replaced when its capacity to purify a wide range of particles decreases. If you’re using a half-efficient air filter, it’ll take approximately two times the amount of time to cleanse the air inside the space compared to one with 99% efficiency.

What HEPA Filters, and What Role Do They Play?

Hepa filter vacuum

Special filters are used to ensure that cleanrooms are operating at the appropriate standards.

These air filters are referred to as HEPA filters. What’s significant regarding HEPA air filters is that they’re highly effective at collecting particles of all sizes.

Air filters that articulate is composed of PET or plastic (PP and PET) or fiberglass. They can take in bacteria, viruses, pollen, PM2.5, and allergens.

They can also be extremely effective in collecting nanoparticles. Filters containing adsorbents or catalysts like charcoal could eliminate odors and gasses like volatile organic compounds or Ozone. HEPA filters are also the main component of an air purifier.

What Are HEPA Filters Made Of?

filter made up

HEPA filters are composed of fibers that are tightly wrapped. They are interwoven, forming a maze that even the smallest particles cannot get through. Here are four methods HEPA filters can trap various kinds of particles:

  • Direct Impaction: This happens when bigger particles, such as dust, animal dander, and pollen, head-first into the HEPA filter. The particles are so large that they get stuck in the initial row of fiber strands.
  • Sieving: It’s like straining pasta. When air passes across the filters, tightly wound fiberglass blocks the passage of medium-sized molecules.
  • Interception: If a molecule particle believes it can make an interception by avoiding the fiberglass, it’s not. Instead, it gets stuck on the end of the fiber.
  • Diffusion: The tiniest particles do not travel in a unidirectional line. They break up in various ways and end up in the tightest, tiniest hair strands of HEPA filters.

How Often Should We Change the HEPA Filter?

1. Changes Every Two to Three Years

In case you’re using a vacuum with a HEPA filter in a strict residential space, the filter will last between 2-3 years before having to be replaced.

It depends on how frequently you are using it; however, regular use, based on an average schedule for cleaning, should be able to keep it in good shape for between 24 and 36 months.

2. If You Smell, Must

It’s vital to be aware of the length of time HEPA filters last; however, should you be using the vacuum and notice the smell of musty, there is a chance that the HEPA filter isn’t functioning properly and needs to be replaced.

The smell test could suggest that it’s time to change the filter before the end of the year (for commercial usage) and before 2 to 3 years (for homes).

3. Commercial Use

If you’re using a vacuum with a HEPA filter used in a commercial environment, it’s recommended that the filter be conveniently changed pretty frequently than every two to three years.

So, if the vacuum is at work and used regularly, it is best to inspect the filter at least every six months. If it appears to be messy, it is supposed to be replaced. If it is not, replace the HEPA filter in a commercial setting once each year.

4. Washable HEPA Filters

washable filter

Cleaning these HEPA filters is recommended every two to three months. Remember that permanent filters aren’t cleanable and could be destroyed when exposed to water.

They must be cleaned frequently. They’ll last from three to five years if you care for them. That’s assuming they don’t break down earlier, however. They can last for years, but certain brands are more durable than others.

Hence, they are typically smaller and less expensive and, therefore, a sensible purchase for HEPA Air purifiers. They work to draw dust mites and pollen to the surface; however, make sure you study your manual before it is time to clean it all off. The manual you receive will inform you whether your filter can be washed or not.

5. Permanent HEPA Filters

The great thing about permanent HEPA filters is that they are… they’re well and always there! They’ll last for many years in the future if you’re taking good care of them promptly.

Every 2 to 3 months, they must be thoroughly (and meticulously) cleaned. They’ll only have to be replaced if damaged, which is quite costly.

Permanent filters are always more expensive than washable ones, considering they’ll last longer.

6. Carbon Pre-filters

carbon filter

Certain HEPA filtering systems allow adding another layer of filtering in the form of carbon pre-filters. Carbon pre-filters are a great option to eliminate odors from the air.

Similar to HEPA filters, Carbon pre-filters are great for removing odors. HEPA and carbon filters must be replaced yearly (Commercial uses) or every 2 to 3 times (residential usage).

The HEPA filter’s ability to eliminate tiny particles is like any other, and the breathing quality, your ability to breathe, and the general hygiene of your home or business are significantly enhanced. Remember the previous suggestions on when it’s the right time to change your filter.

The Bottom Line: How Do You Determine When It’s Time to Renew the HEPA Filter?


You must replace your HEPA filters whenever you’re required to. If they begin to show wear or become damaged, they must be replaced. It will take about three or five years if it’s a washable filter. It’s going to get worse.

Permanent filters last longer; however, both require periodic cleaning. That means you’ll have to clean and vacuum the filters, or else they’ll become damaged.

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