The Importance of Regularly Replacing Your Filter Elements

Posted on September 24th, 2020

Compressed air is one of the most important and widely used utilities in the world today. Often labeled as the “Fourth Utility” due to its widespread use, compressed air and gas is used in industries including automotive, mining, food and beverage, and medical.

Ensuring that the compressed air products in a system are functioning properly is vital to a system’s effectiveness. However, many users often forget about regularly servicing the filter elements. Without maintaining the proper maintenance schedule, both product quality and system longevity suffer.

The below guide tells you everything you need to know about replacing your filter elements.

Why Replace Filter Elements?

Filter elements remove contaminants such as water and oil droplets, vapor, dust, and micro-organisms from the air stream. As the air enters the compressed air filter, potentially harmful and damaging particulates become trapped between the media fibers. After continual use, the filter media can become blocked, causing a lower differential pressure and an increase in the cost and energy needed to run the system.

During operation, the filter element can also be exposed to extreme and changing conditions, such as:

  • Damaging chemicals/vapors
  • Flow surges
  • Moisture
  • Vast temperature fluctuations

Over time, these conditions degrade the filtration media, leading to reduced operational efficiency, lower performance, and product spoilage.

Extreme conditions can even damage filter media. If this were to happen, the differential pressure indicator would not alert you to the problem because there would not be a drop in the air pressure.

When to Replace Filter Elements?

Most filter elements should be changed out after 8,000 hours or 12 months of use (whichever comes first), and Activated Carbon models can last up to 6,000 hours. Some people think that delaying the replacement of filter elements would be a quick and easy way to reduce costs. But, by not replacing filter elements according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, you could be subjecting your business to much larger costs down the line, including system damage, increased energy costs, and even product spoilage.

Benefits of Regularly Servicing Filter Elements

Alongside the avoidance of the above risks, there are many benefits to be gained from regularly changing your filter elements. These include:

  • Higher production uptime and productivity
  • Optimum filtration performance
  • Protection of downstream machinery
  • Reduced repair and replacement expenses

Dangers of Failing to Replace Filter Elements

Failure to replace your filter elements within the advised timeframe could cause a significant decrease in the quality of the compressed air. This could prevent your operating standards from being achieved and cause significant setbacks for your business.

Some of the main risks that you may face as a result of failing to replace your filter elements include:

  • End-use contamination
  • Damage to machinery – for example, absorption dryer beds or pneumatic tools
  • Damage to products
  • Health risks to personnel
  • Increase in long term costs
  • Increase in production downtime

Cost/Benefit Analysis

One of the main reasons given for skipping an element change-out is the upfront cost of replacement parts. However, the filter elements are likely only a $100 piece of a million-dollar system. These elements cost much less than the expenses and damages caused by old, ineffective filter elements.

A clean filter works significantly more efficiently than one that is obstructed with years’ worth of particulate matter and debris. These “clogged” filters require more pressure to push air and gas through the media, incurring higher operating and energy costs, and a greater risk of failure.

By replacing your filter elements regularly, you could avoid excess running costs, reduce the risk of machinery failure, and bypass the possibility of product spoilage and associated costs. Furthermore, by ensuring the smooth running of your compressed air lines, you will be improving your energy efficiency, and consequently reducing your business’ carbon footprint.

Choose High-Quality Compressed Air Filter Elements

Do you need to replace your filter elements? Walker Filtration has a comprehensive range of filter elements for our current and legacy products, as well as alternatives to OEM compressed air filter elements. Find out more HERE.

You can contact us at +1 (814) 836-2900 or sales@walkerfiltration.com if you would like any further advice on replacement elements.

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