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How Long Does A HEPA Filter Last?

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If you have recently purchased the best air purifier, you may wonder how long HEPA filters last. These filters can be found in a great number of popular air purifiers, after all.


  • HEPA is a set of standards to ensure that air filters meet a strict series of recommendations for use in air purifiers, vacuums, and other devices.
  • Left unused, a HEPA filter will be good for a number of years, up to ten in some cases.
  • While being used, a HEPA filter will generally have to be replaced every six to 12 months.

Insider Tip

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter or high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter.

What is a HEPA filter?

Before you can understand the overall lifespan of a HEPA filter, it can be helpful to fully understand what they are and how they function. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air filter or high-efficiency particulate arrestance filter. HEPA is more of a quality standard than a type. In other words, if your air purifier includes a genuine HEPA filter, that means that the filter has met or exceeded all of the standards set forth in the HEPA guidelines.

A pre-filter in a HEPA air purifier filter system is a coarse filter that is located before the HEPA filter. It’s designed to remove larger particles from the air, such as dust, pet hair, and other debris, in order to prolong the life of the HEPA filter and improve its overall efficiency. The HEPA filter takes care of smaller particles like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and other airborne particles. Together these filters work together to improve the indoor air quality of a space and make a positive impact on the health of the inhabitants within the space.

HEPA filters are sometimes used alongside carbon filters, which are a common type of filter that work by adsorbing gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and harmful pollutants from the air.

Be wary of purifiers that use the HEPA title but have not actually been certified to meet the standards and guidelines. These are different than Electromagnetic air purifiers, but still, be wary.

How Long Will HEPA Filters Last?

Left unused, a HEPA filter could last anywhere from two to ten years. However, the metric will decrease significantly once you have put the filter to use in an air purifier, vacuum cleaner, or a related device. A standard HEPA filter should be replaced every six to 12 months, though this will fluctuate depending on how often you use the filter and to what extent. Your overall air quality and various related environmental factors will also impact the longevity of a HEPA filter.

If your major concern is airborne pathogens, try the air purifier with UV germicidal irradiation.

Insider Tip

The ozone levels generated by these products are lower than what will be found with ozone-generating air purifiers and ionic air purifiers.

Tips to Extend HEPA Filter Life

Here are general tips to extend the lifespan of your HEPA filter once it has been placed in an air purifier and used.

Gently Clean the Filter

You do not necessarily have to immediately run to the store to replace a HEPA filter once the filtration device has become clogged. Many HEPA filters can be cleaned with a vacuum to suck away any debris and dust that has clogged the exterior. If the product instructions say it’s a non-washable filter, do not use water on the HEPA filter, as it will likely damage the internal components. Additionally, be sure the vacuum or air purifier has been set to its lowest setting, so you can conduct the cleaning process gently. Always double-check if the HEPA filter is actually a washable filter type which means it’s safe to wash the filter with water. Overall it’s best to be prepared for maintaining both the filter and air purifier, like for example if you’re wondering what happens if an air purifier got wet with water.

Minimize Use

If you are worried about the lifespan of your HEPA filter, there is a simple fix. Just use your filter-enabled air purifier only when necessary. This will increase the amount of time before you will need a replacement filter. Make sure you understand how long your air purifier will take to clean the room when deciding how often to use it. Moreover, you’ll want to know how many days it takes to notice a difference when using an air purifier. Because, what if you’re unsure that your PM2.5 air purifier is working? And, it’ll let you know when to put in a new HEPA filter in the purifier, particularly if you haven’t changed the filter in a while.


Left unused, a HEPA filter could last anywhere from two to ten years.


Why should you replace air filters regularly?

When an air filter is completely clogged, the air purifier will no longer adequately be able to do its job. In other words, you will be breathing in unpurified air.

How well do HEPA filters remove bacteria and viruses?

This will depend on the size of the bacteria and virus particles. A real HEPA filter will remove over 99% of particulates at or above a 0.3-micron rating.

What are HEPA filters made of?

HEPA filters can be made from a wide variety of materials, including coarse glass fibers, coated animal hair, vegetable fibers, synthetic fibers (such as polyester or nylon), synthetic foams, metallic wools, or expanded metals and foils.

STAT: Although it depends on the specific filter you have, as a rule of thumb, replaceable HEPA filters should be replaced every 6-12 months, depending on air quality and environmental factors. (source)

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