As a tech savvy champion of the healthy home revolution, you’ve likely made a few great decisions. Maybe you decided to defend your family against the hazards inherent in local tap water – against waterborne pests and pollutants like chloramine, lead, or PFAS chemicals using state-of-the-art water filtration systems. Maybe you’ve taken quantum leaps in personal hygiene and decided to install a fully loaded bidet seat with custom wash settings and a warm air dryer. Undoubtedly, you came upon this article because you’ve already done your family the service of eliminating airborne pollutants and allergens like dust, mold, and VOCs with the purchase of a new true HEPA air purifier. Perhaps, you’ve enjoyed the last several months breathing the immaculate O2 bounty of pure pulmonary exhilaration, your every breath deep, clean, unencumbered by the toxicity of urban smog and the seasonal assault of like ragweed or tree pollen. It could be that you’ve been so wrapped up in the bliss of fresh, healthy air that time has lapsed with the quiet and ease of a deep, restful sleep and now you’ve found yourself 6-12 months later and maybe your air filtration unit is working even harder, too hard even, the air feels a bit stuffier than usual and now you’ve got a filter change indicator light blinking or a chime beeping. It’s time to make another good decision.
When buying an air purifier, most people want to know how to change the air filters or when to replace the air filters. Since these disposable allergen traps only last for so long before becoming clogged with dust or logged with pollutants, it’s important to change them regularly in order to keep your purifier running at max capacity.
For those with questions about how to install a new air filter, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll go over how often to change air filters, how to clean an air filter, and how to put an air filter in your unit.
When do I change my air purifier's filter?
Many modern air purifiers come stock with filter change indicators, either in the form of a gentle illuminating reminder or a beeping alert. These make it easy to understand exactly how long to go between filter changes. For older models or those without indicators, it’s helpful to keep a schedule of maintenance and filter replacement either on or around the unit so you’re always aware of when the filters need changing.
Since many air purifiers use several types of filters working in conjunction to clear your air, not only of the particulates and pollutants but odors as well, there may be several different types of filters that need changing at different times. The most common types of air filters in today’s air purifiers are: true HEPA filters, carbon filters, and mesh pre-filters. Some of these last longer than others so the filter change schedules will vary depending on type. It’s generally recommended to change them along these timelines:
- True HEPA: 8,760 usable hours or about every 12 months
- Activated Carbon: 8,760 usable hours or about every 12 months
- Mesh Pre-Filter: Should be cleaned every 2-4 weeks
With some more advanced air purification systems, there may be other components to account for as well. New air filtration technology such as integrated cold catalysts or ion emission elements might require their own specific replacement schedules. These will vary depending not only upon the type of filtration system used but also in how they’re arranged within it. Some modern air filtration systems even utilize all-in-one composite filters that allow you to change the filters all at once. It’s important to consult your owner’s manual to understand the exact filtration specs and when they may need to be changed because just like your personal air purification needs, your system will be unique in the way it manages them.
How do I change my air purifier's filter?
Much like asking for that boost in your allowance or the keys to your dad’s Mercedes-AMG, knowing when is the hardest part. After your 12-month filtration cycle ends and it’s time to trade out that dust-logged true HEPA for a fresh panel of interceptive cleaning power, all you need to do is consult the owner’s manual inside your respective purifier. Typically there is a panel you can open/slide out and the filter will be attached inside. Since replacing your HEPA air filters and your carbon filters should happen simultaneously, it’s easy enough to simply buy them at the same time and replace them all in one fell swoop.
Of course, mesh pre-filters are a different story. The good news with these filters is that you can use them over and over without typically having to buy replacements. The bad news is, you normally have to clean them about once every 2-4 weeks. The other bit of good news is that cleaning these filters is as easy as popping them out and cleaning them with either a vacuum attachment or a little warm water. If you do wash them with warm water let them dry completely on their own before putting them back in place and powering your unit.
Typically there is a panel you can open or slide out. Remove existing filters, then clean or replace as recommended by the manufacturer. You may also need to reset the filter change indicator to remind you about filter maintenance for next time.
Breathe it in
Now that you know how and when to replace your filters, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying the full-capacity clean of your overhauled air purifier. Sit down, take a breath and feel the pure clean of productivity. You made another great decision and now it’s time revel in rejuvenated air.