If you are new to the world of high-performing air purifiers, you may not fully understand the ramifications of ignoring common air filter maintenance tasks. What happens when an air filter is too dirty? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • You should regularly clean or replace your air filters so as to improve the overall efficacy of your air purifier.
  • Dirty filters will lead to an increase in allergens and odor-causing particles, and a decrease in the efficiency of your air purifier.
  • HEPA filters should be replaced every six months to one year, while other types of filters may be able to be cleaned once every month.

How Can You Tell if an Air Filter is Dirty?

There are a couple of ways you can tell if an air filter is dirty. If the “change filter” light has become illuminated, that is usually a pretty clear indication that the filter is dirty. Another way is to open up the housing and look at the filter itself. Does it look clogged and spotted with dirt and grime? If so, it is most definitely dirty. If you know what a carbon air filter does then you know that they get dirty quickly as they are very effective when purifying the air from VOCs.

Insider Tip

If the “change filter” light has become illuminated, that is usually a pretty clear indication that the filter is dirty.

What Happens When a Filter is Too Dirty?

There are a number of ill effects that can occur if you allow your air filter to become too dirty. Here are just a few.

Air Purifier Will Not Work

First and foremost, a dirty air filter will disallow the air purifier to work properly. Sure, it will technically function, but to what end? The purifier will be pulling in air, running it through a dirty filter, and then pumping that air directly into your home. At best, there will be no difference in the air purification level of your home before and after using the purifier. At worst, your air will actually be worse after it has been run through the dirty filter.

Insider Tip

With the air purifier hobbled by a dirty filter, allergens will be given plenty of room to disseminate throughout your home.

Increased Allergens

With the air purifier hobbled by a dirty filter, allergens will be given plenty of room to disseminate throughout your home. Family members and friends who suffer from allergy-related symptoms will likely experience flare-ups and you will have some unhappy people on your hands. This will hold to be especially true if you have pets or if you regularly experience allergic symptoms related to pollen, mold, mildew, and related materials.

Increased Odors

Just as with allergies, odor-causing particles will be given free rein to roam throughout your home if you continue to use a dirty air filter. HEPA filters are especially effective when it comes to reducing foul odors, as odor-causing particles can easily be trapped by these filters. Be sure to replace your HEPA filters every six months to one year for optimal efficiency and efficacy.

In addition, always check the red light on an air purifier. Many people wonder what a red light means on an air purifier. It may mean that it needs to be replaced, cleaned, or struggling to handle the level of air pollution in your immediate surroundings.

Warning

Open up the housing and look at the filter itself. Does it look clogged and spotted with dirt and grime?

F.A.Q.S

Why does my air filter get dirty so quickly?

Air filters can get dirty quickly if you are running the air purifier at a high setting and you are dealing with an above-average level of air pollutants.


When to clean/replace your air filter?

Generally speaking, HEPA filters should be replaced every six months to one year, though this metric will vary depending on usage. Electrostatic filters and activated carbon filters should be cleaned once every month.


Where are my air filters located?

Each air purifier will have a unique location to place the air filter. Be sure to explore the various pieces of documentation that accompanied your air purifier, including the quick start guide, for more information.



STAT: Since it improves airflow, replacing your air filter can improve acceleration or horsepower by up to 11%. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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