When To Change Your Filters In The Work Place

Shanna Cooper
Tue May 17, 2022

A lot of dust respirator also have active materials in their filters for trapping the contaminants. The active material present in the filter has a direct relationship with the service life of the respirator. For instance, organic vapor respirators feature activated charcoal as the active material for trapping the contaminants. You can check the specifications of the filter to know more about its variability.The more contaminants you are working with at one time, the more work your filter is doing to protect you. Typically, the higher the filter variability, the sooner it will need to be changed.

When to change your filters

Unfortunately there is no clear black or white answer for exactly when to change your filters. It is depends on the factors mentioned above along with frequency of use. 

Our when to change your filter guide is a great tool to reference alongside your user manual.

It is important to become familiar with the appropriate filter change schedule in order to protect yourself from any long term health issues. 

There is no point in investing in a high quality respirator if you are not using it at its most optimal level of performance. 

We encourage you to develop your own schedule and take into consideration the following factors:

  • concentration of contaminant exposure
  • the type of contaminants
  • humidity levels
  • temperature
  • how frequently is the respirator used during a shift
  • work rate of the wearer
  • presence of chemicals or factors that can affect the service life of the filters

Due to their importance for long term health protection, OSHA has determined three ways to estimate the lifespan of your filters and create the recommended schedule:

1. Manufacturer’s Recommendation

A simple way to create a filter change schedule is on the basis of the recommendations of the manufacturer. While the manufacturer cannot provide a clear answer beyond a some suggested guidelines, we recommend playing safe vs sorry and choosing a one, two or three month frequency depending on your use. 

2. Experimental Tests

OSHA encourages experimental testing of the workplace to determine what contaminants are actually present. In the case of multiple contaminants, this method is known to be most accurate. However, the tests do require time and money and may not be applicable to those using protection for hobbyist work.

3. Mathematical Models

There are computer programs that are able to help determine the service life of the filters. In the absence of computer programs, descriptive or prescriptive models are used. This method is generally recommended only for workplaces with a single contaminant and is generally not as accurate as experimental tests.

It is only after one of these three methods that a true understanding of filter lifespan in a workplace can occur. OSHA aims to provide workers with the most stable and safe environment, especially when working with chemicals. 

The following recommendations have been made by OSHA regarding chemical protection:

The filter is inversely proportional to the work rate

  • If the concentration of contaminants is reduced by a factor of 10, the service life of the cartridge increases by a factor of 5
  • If the boiling point of the chemical present at the workplace is above 158 degrees F and its concentration is less than 200 ppm, the service life of the cartridge can be up to 8 hours if the work rate is normal
  • Service life is reduced by 50% if the humidity level is above 85%

Please note that it this is merely a guideline by OSHA and should only be taken into consideration when used alongside one of the three recommended methods.

All of our products come with user manuals to provide you with insight into the service life of the filters. While this is not a one size fits all answer, the OSHA guidelines along with our filter changing guide can help you keep your filters working at an optimum level at all times.

Our newly launched filter subscription program allows you to receive filters directly to your door every 1, 2, or 3 months (or more) at a convenient 10% discount.

While we know the answer to when to change your filters isn’t exactly easy, our filter subscription does make it easier.

When in doubt, feel free to reach out to us at any time. 

Stay safe out there

For more information on OSHA: click here

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