The importance of replacing filter elements

You want to minimize product downtime, loss of productivity, and overall increased costs. Clean, dry, compressed air is essential to operations. The main reason to change your filter element is to maintain air quality.

Elements have a finite life and finite capacity to retain contamination. Once these have expired the required air quality can no longer be maintained.

Benefits of changing your element are: 

  • High quality guaranteed compressed air
  • Protection of  your adsorption dryer beds
  • Protection of your downstream equipment, personnel, and processes
  • Reduction in your operational costs
  • Increased productivity & profitability

What factors reduce filter performance? 

Filter performance can be affected by a number of different factors, these are not visible and you can often not be aware of problems until it affects your operations.

During operation, the filter media in coalescing and dust removal filter elements is attacked by high-velocity dirt particles. At the same time, it has to deal with extremes of pressure, temperature, and a pulsing air demand whilst being submersed in acidic condensate, which can be hot water, oil, or chemical additives from compressor lubricants.

As the filtration media breaks down, even a hole the size of a pinpoint or pressure spikes can result in the rupture of the filter media.

A rupture in the filter media allows contamination to pass from the filter into the system. If this should happen the needle on the gauge would always read in the green area.

As a result, the filter element is often not serviced until the contamination is spotted downstream.

filter maintenance

My filter is fitted with a differential pressure gauge and the needle is green – why should I change my element?

Many filter housings are fitted with differential pressure gauges. These tend to be indicators rather than precise gauges and don’t offer a level of calibration or accuracy.

Typically these gauges will show a red and green area. If the needle is in the green area it indicates the element doesn’t need changing. However differential pressure gauges are not service indicators or air quality indicators they simply measure differential pressure and offer an indication of a premature blockage.

What are the consequences of not changing filter elements?

This is where the importance of replacing filter elements comes into play. Changing your elements on an annual basis is essential to maintaining quality compressed air. Not changing your filter elements on an annual basis can often seem like a short term cost saving however can be costly in the long run and can result in some of the following issues caused by poor air quality:

  • Damaged adsorption dryer beds requiring unplanned desiccant changes
  • Corrosion within the compressed air storage and distribution system
  • Blocked/frozen valves, air motors, and pneumatic tools
  • Damaged machinery/Increased production downtime
  • Contamination exhausting from valves and cylinders leads to unhealthy working environments, risk of personal injury, staff absences, and personal injury claims
  • Inefficient production processes/Increased manufacturing costs
  • Spoiled, damaged products/Cost of re-work
filter elements