You can tell if your HEPA filter is dirty either by monitoring the general air quality or by examining it directly. If it has a lot of dust, debris, or hair like cloggers, it needs cleaning or replacement.
If HEPA filters get dirty, it cannot perform efficiently and is unable to filter out pollutants. Hence degrading the indoor air quality. Some air filters are washable, while some need to be replaced for proper functioning.
If the HEPA filter does not have any visible debris but is yellowish in color, it is not necessarily dirty. The yellowing of the filter can be caused by oxidation or aging.
Why is it Necessary to Replace or Clean HEPA Filters?
When people rely on air purifiers for maintaining indoor air quality, they should be vigilant about the air filters. It is an established fact that one in nine deaths each year are caused by air pollution. Not changing your HEPA filters in time may worsen the indoor air quality.
The problem is that people are generally unaware of when to change the filters. They only get alarmed when the dust and soot start to flow out through the vent. At this point the filters are quite past their usable date and are barely keeping up.
How do HEPA Filters Work?
HEPA is an acronym derived from High Efficiency Particulate Air. These are the best mechanical filters because these arrest 99.97% of the pollutants. These can capture particles as minute as 0.3 microns.
The above mentioned design allows HEPA filters to trap almost all the matter particles that enter the inside of the house or a confined space. If the air filter is already congested with dust or debris, it cannot filter the outside air as it is supposed to. In that case, extra pressure will be built on the purifying system. And when the filters give up, these end up circulating impure air throughout the space.
Signs your HEPA filter is dirty:
● A sudden increase in allergies may signify that your air filter has some debris trapped in it. Pet dander is the major pollutant in such cases usually. If you have a pet, its hair can get trapped and circulate in the air throughout your space.
● If the white clothes or sheets near your vents are changing color or getting dirtier than usual, your HEPA filters need an immediate change. It is called a white sheet test. This can be done intentionally as well.
● Hiking electricity bills are also your cue to check if your air filters are doing their job. Because if they do it efficiently, the HVAC system consumes much less energy. So a sudden spike in power fees can be tackled by changing HEPA filters.
● Only dust and debris aren’t the culprit in spoiling an air filter. Sometimes moisture or other physical damage to filters can also reduce the efficiency of air purifiers. To avoid this, regular Eye tests can be done.
Commercially, HEPA filters are found almost in every building. Every centrally air conditioned/heated building regulates the indoor air quality by using HVAC systems and HEPA filters. Such spaces include hospitals, research facilities, offices, etc.
Increased awareness about degrading air quality in certain locations around the globe has increased the use of air purifiers and air filters. Household appliances like vacuum cleaners, HVAC systems, and even cars have air filters installed now. So, it shall become a vital habit to keep an eye on your HEPA filters’ cleanliness.