How Long Does an Air Purifier Filter Last?

How long does an air purifier filter last?

We know that air purifiers are costly, especially if you buy a top-of-the-line air purifier with high-quality HEPA filters. 

The last thing you want is to purchase a hundred-dollar air purifier and then have it break down after six months.

In reality, air purifiers usually use several different filters, each with a different lifespan. 

And there are a few tips and tricks that you can use to make sure your air purifier filters last as long as possible.

How Long Does an Air Purifier Filter Last – HEPA Filters

One of the most common filters that air purifiers use is the High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter. 

These filters can filter out 99.97% of particles at 0.3 micrometers in size, making them one of the most popular filters for people with allergies.

Their ability to filter out tiny particles also made them a popular tool during the pandemic. 

They can pull virus-containing droplets out of the air and contain them before transmitting an illness to someone else.

As a HEPA filter is used, it will slowly become saturated with particles that it pulls out of the air. As the filter becomes saturated, it stops functioning and must be replaced.

The average recommendation is changing your HEPA filter every 18 months to 3 years

This will help to ensure that your HEPA filter is still doing its job and filtering your air efficiently.


How to Know When to Change a HEPA Filter

There are two ways to check if your HEPA filter is still working without calling in a team of professionals. 

You can track how old the filter is and look at the filter’s appearance.

On average, a HEPA filter must be changed out every 18-36 months, depending on how many hours per day you are running it. 

If your HEPA filter has already been used for a year, you can change it to maintain the high air quality in your home.

If you’re not sure how old your HEPA filter is, you can get a lot of clues about how well it’s functioning just by looking at the filter. 

If the filter has turned yellow or gray or has a thick layer of dust and other particles stuck to it, it’s probably time to change your filter.

Suppose the filter still looks relatively new and has no significant buildup. In that case, you’re probably good to keep using your filter for another several months.

One last option is having a professional team come out and check on the filters. 

They can tell you whether the filter is still cleaning your air and if air quality is being maintained.

How Long Does an Air Purifier Filter Last – Carbon Filters

Some air purifiers also use a carbon filter placed right before the HEPA filter. 

The purpose of this filter is to absorb odor-causing molecules that are too small to be trapped by the HEPA filter.

Deodorizing filters use activated carbon to absorb odors. 

The spaces between the carbon molecules can absorb even the tiniest particles, making them a great choice if you struggle with odor in the home.

On average, carbon-based air purifier filters will last anywhere from 6-12 months in an air purifier before they should be replaced. 

Just like with HEPA filters, carbon-based filters continue functioning based on how saturated they are.

Once the activated carbon in the filter becomes saturated, it will stop absorbing odors.

How to Know When to Change a Deodorizing Filter

Like with HEPA filters, the easiest way to know it’s time to change your deodorizing filter is by tracking how long you’ve been using it.

Once you hit the one-year mark, it’s time to throw your deodorizing filter out and purchase a new one.

Another easy way to know that it’s time to change your deodorizing filter is by smelling the air. 

If you notice that odors start to build up again when they were previously well-controlled, it’s time to get a new deodorizing filter.


How Long Does an Air Purifier Filter Last – Pre-Filters

When you search for “How long does an air purifier filter last?” you’ll likely find answers about HEPA and deodorizing filters. 

However, that is not the only filter that your air purifier contains.

Most air purifiers also contain a filter layer called the pre-filter. 

This pre-filter is made from a mesh-like material designed to catch larger debris and prevent it from clogging your other filters.

Since pre-filters can accumulate large debris so quickly, most are designed to be reusable, unlike the more delicate internal filters.

You’ll want to remove and clean your pre-filter every 2-4 weeks, possibly more if you deal with a lot of pet hair clogging your filter. 

To clean your pre-filter, gently brush it off, vacuum it, or rinse it under running water.

Eventually, after many uses, your pre-filter will begin to break down and should be thrown away and replaced. 

You’ll know that your pre-filter needs to be replaced as the material stretches out or when you notice small holes in the filter.

Maximizing the Lifetime of Air Purifier Filters

All filters will give out and need to be replaced at some point. 

However, by following a few simple guidelines, you will be able to maximize the lifetime of your air filters and save money by not having to repurchase them constantly.

Use a Pre-Filter

The best thing you can do to maximize the lifetime of your disposable HEPA and deodorizing filters is to use a pre-filter.

The purpose of a pre-filter is to filter out the larger debris, like hair and larger dust particles. 

If these particles are not filtered out, they will rapidly clog your HEPA filter, resulting in prematurely replacing it.

To keep your pre-filter functioning correctly, you’ll need to clean it out every 2-4 weeks to remove all of the debris that it has accumulated.

Pick a Large Air Purifier

When you pick out your air purifier, try to select a model that is larger than necessary. 

This will ensure you can run your air purifier on one of the lower settings while maintaining good air quality.

When you constantly run your air purifier on the highest setting, it can create unnecessary drag. This can damage the filter and result in having to replace the filter more quickly.

Using a smaller air purifier also means smaller air filters that will fill up more quickly. 

A larger air purifier will have more space in its filters for debris and will take longer to need replacements.

Purchase High-Quality Filters

When you purchase your next set of air purifier filters, don’t automatically go for the cheapest filter available. 

Yes, this filter will have the lowest upfront cost. However, the cost will add up as you have to replace the filter more frequently.

High-quality air purifier filters are made from a denser material and typically have more surface area. 

This means that more filter must be “filled up” before it needs to be replaced.

Use an Air Purifier with Filter Monitoring

For most types of air purifier filters, there is an extensive range of times when it’s recommended to change them. 

Some companies say that your air purifier filter can last several years. In contrast, others say that an air purifier filter only lasts for a short time and should be changed every six months.

To avoid changing a filter too soon and wasting money on an unnecessary replacement, try purchasing an air purifier with filter monitoring.

These air purifiers will monitor how easily the air flows through the filter and how long it’s been since you installed it.

Once the airflow decreases, the filter will signal that it is time to change your air filter. 

This technology will help avoid unnecessary filter changes and help you remember to change your air purifier filter regularly.


How Long Does an Air Purifier Filter Last? – FAQs

Can you leave an air purifier on at night?

Not only can you leave an air purifier on at night, but you should also leave your air purifier on all night. 

This will prevent contaminants from building up in the air and prevent you from waking up with allergy symptoms.

How do I know if an air purifier is working?

You can tell if your air purifier is working by checking the air quality monitor that most air purifiers have. 

If the air quality is consistently in the blue or green zone, depending on the brand, your air purifier functions as it should.

You should also be able to tell based on your symptoms. 

If your allergy symptoms have significantly improved, your air purifier works properly and filters contaminants out of the air.

Can air purifiers improve sleep quality?

If you suffer from allergy symptoms while sleeping, using an air purifier can significantly improve these symptoms. 

Reducing your allergy symptoms can help you to sleep more deeply and stay asleep longer.

Final Thoughts: How Long Does an Air Purifier Filter Last?

How long an air purifier filter lasts will depend on the type of air purifier filter that you’re using and how frequently you use it.

HEPA filters can usually last for around a year before they need to be replaced. 

Deodorizing filters do not last quite as long and usually need to be replaced every six months or when they stop working.

Pre-filters rarely need to be thrown out and replaced. 

However, they should be cleaned every 2-4 weeks to eliminate any accumulated debris.

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