How Often Should You Change The Pre-filter In An Air Purifier?

One of the most effective methods of extending the lifespan of air filters is by pairing them with a pre-filter. Although the air filter gets a new lease on life, this is at the expense of the pre-filter. So, people usually wonder, how often should they change their pre-filter?

From the purpose of their design, pre-filters were introduced to take the brunt of the pollutants for the main filter. Thus, it would help if you changed them regularly to adhere to that purpose, and one month is enough. So, after each month, you should change your air purifier’s pre-filter.

Of course, this value is for moderate usage. So, if you use your air purifier a lot each day, you would have to change its pre-filters more often. If you want to know how to go about this, this article is specifically for you.

Do Air Purifier Pre-filters Need To Be Changed Often?

A glance at the structure of an air filter will give you a scope of the work they perform. It’s a fan leading to a sieve that filters out the contaminants in the air. So, the fan’s job is to direct air into the filter.

The filter gets to do all the work by ensuring dust, pollen, pet hair, and odor remain secure while clean air goes through. Unfortunately, these pollutants would eventually cause the filter to become inefficient at its job. As such, they inevitably have to be replaced or cleaned up from time to time. 

However, most of these filters are made with delicate materials which would stand in the way of cleaning. Thus, many manufacturers created a disposable filter, but most consumers rejected this. 

While disposable filters are replaceable, the price was the issue. As such, not many customers were willing to buy their air purifiers.

This paved the way for permanent air filters to be washed when dirty and used again. Although it was well-received by the customers, industry professionals stood against it. 

They postulate that the delicate nature of most air filter fibers wouldn’t allow them to survive a wash. They believed that while users saw a clean air filter after a wash, the result was far more gruesome. In their opinion, a washed air filter probably has frays on its fibers and rips along the fiber’s length. 

Vacuuming wasn’t seen as a suitable cleaning solution for permanent air filters either. A vacuum’s power meant that the air filter fibers would directly be pulled out of their places. There was no way that a vacuum could retrieve pollutants that were trapped deep within an air filter’s fibers either. 

From the observations of the professionals, an air filter could only be used once. However, a solution that could placate both sides appeared, a pre-filter.

Pre-filters are usually arranged in the path of the main filter, which makes them the first line of defense. This means that pollutants are present in the air purifier, but the pre-filter holds back a majority. In the end, the primary filter would only end up facing micropollutants that would have evaded the pre-filter.

This arrangement was successful because large particles like dust, pet hair, and pollen were no longer in the picture. These particles usually clog up air filters and make them incapable of cleaning the air. However, the pre-filters took care of these large particles instead. 

Eventually, the main filters dealt with microparticles which couldn’t easily hinder their daily operations. 

Thus, the consumers no longer had to wash or vacuum the main filter; instead, they did that to the pre-filter. This way, the indignation of the industry professionals was quelled, and the consumers were satisfied. However, using a pre-filter requires that the pre-filter be changed more often. 

Consequences Of Not Changing A Pre-Filter

Although the pre-filter features a sturdier design than the air filter, the consequences of not changing them were similar. Some of the known consequences include the following:

Reduced Air Quality

People purchase air purifiers for their homes because they want to improve the air quality in their space. Although keeping pet fur out of the air or eliminating bad odors are useful enough, the main reason hardly changes. Thus, one way to tell when your air purifier has gone bad is that it doesn’t perform these simple tasks.

This could, in turn, be a result of a clogged pre-filter. A clogged pre-filter prevents air from going into the air purifier, keeping it from doing its job. In the end, the air quality in that room could drop drastically. 

Increased Utility Consumption

Most air purifiers work by measuring the quality of the air and getting that air up to a required quality. You can also say that they work automatically, keeping the pollutants in the air within a certain level. 

When pollutants are difficult to remove, they increase their efficiency by increasing fan speed for such air purifiers. This, in turn, draws more power from the mains and causes the electricity bill to spike.

So, imagine what it would look like when the purifier increases fan speed, but the air’s pollution doesn’t drop. The air purifier would keep increasing the fan speed to no avail.

Increase In Ambient Noise

It’s a general standard that all passive air purifiers operate with ambient noise, no matter how small. However, this sound goes up a few decibels when the fan runs at a higher speed. 

So, when the pre-filter is clogged up, the fan works a lot harder to funnel air into the air purifier. This, in turn, increases the ambient noise that the user would hear from their air purifier. As such, you can see that a pre-filter has to be changed often.

How Often Should Pre-filters Be Replaced?

Like the main filter, a pre-filter also needs to be changed from time to time. However, unlike the main filter, the pre-filter’s main advantage is that it can be washed and cleaned from time to time. 

So, when you own an air purifier with a pre-filter, you would have to change it every month. This date is based on the fact that the air purifier isn’t used for more than 5 hours each time. So, for air purifiers that are used for more extended periods, the filter would have to be cleaned sooner.

The surroundings of the air purifier also factor into this equation. For instance, air purifiers used in dusty areas require you to clean them more regularly. 

So, instead of a month, the intervals between each cleaning could be reduced to 2 weeks or less. If the dirt in the surroundings is too much, you may have to set a reminder to clean at least once a week.

Benefits Of Changing A Pre-Filter Often

Changing a pre-filter is not without its benefits, though. Some of these benefits are explained below:

Extended Lifespan Of The Main Filter

This is the main purpose of the pre-filter. As filters that are designed to take the brunt of all incoming pollutants, pre-filters make the main filter last longer. 

The lifespan of the main filter is believed to be reduced when you wash or clean them. Thus, pre-filters are designed to prevent that from happening. This means the main filter can go for months or years without requiring any form of cleaning.

Reduced Maintenance

The cost of the main filter is one of the reasons for which a pre-filter is required. Since it takes the original place of the main filter, it’s the one that gets to be replaced when broken.

Unlike the main filter, the pre-filter isn’t made from any precious materials and can be easily replaced without straining your pocket. The sturdiness of its design also dictates that it can be washed with detergent when it’s too dirty.

How Do You Change A Pre-filter In An Air Purifier? 

The pre-filter of an air purifier is bound to get dirty or broken at some point. As such, manufacturers made them easy to replace or wash when needed. So, when you need to do this, you wouldn’t require any specialized tools or knowledge to get started.

Purchase The Replacement Pre-Filter

Pre-filters were made to be much cheaper than air filters, so it wouldn’t cost you much to replace them. However, you have to visit your air purifier’s website to purchase a replacement. If the manufacturer is unavailable, you can use the written specifications of the pre-filter to get one from a retailer.

Unplug The Air Purifier From The Mains

This part cannot be overemphasized enough. Replacing a pre-filter while the air purifier is still powered is dangerous and could get you electrocuted.

Replace The Old Filter With The New One

After removing the old pre-filter from the filter slot, you can then replace it with the new one. First, ensure that the new pre-filter latches on comfortably and maintains the same orientation as the old one. After which, you can plug your air purifier back into the mains.