Everyone has had to deal with a filter of some sort – in your car, with HVAC, and so forth. One of the most common questions we get at Dustless is in regards to a filter’s life is, “How do I know when I need to change my filter?” That is a very valid question – you want to ensure that what you suck up stays inside your vacuum. Here we answer that question and tell you how to not only change your filters, but extend their life.
It’s no secret that a filter works by blocking big particles. Much like a spaghetti in a strainer, a filter is intended to let the small things through (like air) and block the big things (such as dust).
Filters are measured in micrometers; thus, when a filter states that it filters down to 0.5 microns, what it is really saying is that it blocks any particle bigger than 0.5 micrometers. A quick Google search will show you what the diameter is of whatever you are working on – drywall dust, concrete dust, asbestos, etc.
In general, the more layers a filter has, the more chances it has to capture particles.
When To Replace The Standard Filter
When we say, “standard filter”, we mean anything that is not a HEPA filter. Standards are those that sit inside your average shop vacuum. Standard filters, such as those used with drywall dust, are easier to know when to change.
Follow these guidelines:
- If your vacuum has a noticeable loss of suction, check the filters.
- When your filters appear dirty, but you can clean them by beating them off outside, they are still good to use.
- If your filters appear dirty, but beating them off outside does not make them any cleaner, then they need to be replaced.
- When you notice dust being exhausted into the air, regardless of whether the filter appears dirty, then they need to be replaced.
Note: Some filters are machine washable, so even if it appears dirty, it might be able to be washed and air dried. Some filters, such as those used in ash vacuums, are made of fiberglass which is not washable – that will break down the filter.
When To Replace The HEPA Filter
HEPA filters are a bit trickier. They aren’t just a piece of cloth that can easily be examined and cleaned off. Often, they have a metal or plastic cage surrounding them. Usually they have been used with hazardous materials which makes cleaning the filters a no-go.
Follow these guidelines for swapping out a HEPA filter:
For light use: If you use this vacuum twice a year, you probably don’t need to replace this filter for several years. You should consider replacing the HEPA filter if there is noticeable lack of suction.
For medium use: You use your shop vacuum several times a month – probably as part of your job. HEPA filters can last about 18 months, on average, with medium use. That is the general rule of thumb; however, if you notice lack of suction, it is time to swap it out.
For heavy use: You use this vacuum every day as part of your job. Vacuum filters take in a lot of particles, so when it is used every single day, we recommend that you switch out the filters monthly. It will restore any lost suction and will ensure that you are capturing what you intended to capture. Going more than a month without switching it out will make your vacuum not as effective and can potentially leak dangerous materials.
Using A Bag Extends Filter Life
One of the best things about a vacuum bag is that it not only contains the dust, but blocks particles also.
The Wunderbag, one of our top products, uses five layers of alternating semi-porous plastic and cloth to give your filter more chances to catch more particles. Consistently using a Wunderbag can extend your filter’s life by 10 times. That’s not just a talking point – we are serious. Use a Wunderbag pre-filter; it will save you some cash in the long run and make your job easier.
Have more questions? Simply reach out to our sales team in Utah by phone at (435) 637-5885 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org! We would be glad to help in any way.