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The Disadvantages of Cleaning Air Filter Elements

Published by Filter Element Store on Aug 12, 2016

filter-element-dirty.pngWe recently wrote about "How To Clean Compressed Air Filter Elements" in this news section, but many filter manufacturers do not recommend cleaning their filter elements. For some manufacturers, self-cleaning a filter will void the warranty. It is possible to clean many types of compressed air filters, but there are things you should be aware of to make sure cleaning the filter elements are the best approach for your equipment process and requirements. 

  • Using a quality filter that meets the OEM requirements, and within the filters' tolerances, will provide the maximum amount of life for the filter element and downstream equipment. Cleaning your filter element can reduce the dirt holding capacity of the filter by up to 25% after just the first cleaning. This means you have to clean the filter more often and it loses more dirt holding capacity after each cleaning. 
  • Filter Elements subjected to unusually dirty environments are typically too clogged to be cleaned properly. Fine particles can be difficult to remove from the filtration media and trying to fully clean the filter can cause damage and bypass. 
  • Cleaning filter elements leads to more handling of the filter which could cause unknown damage to the filter when it is put back into operation.
  • Second stage filters, such as a 24" x 24" 12" Air Intake Panel Filter Element, should never be cleaned as they are high efficiency filters and the last point of protection for your expensive air compressors.
  • Companies who offer cleaning services for filters elements typically avoid cleaning filters that have are 6 to 12 months old. There are too many problems that can result and they do not want to be responsible for potential damage to equipment.

So there are a few reasons why you might want to think twice about cleaning your filters. If you're still thinking about it, contact us and we can research your part numbers and provide an honest recommendation if your compressed air filter elements are safe to clean.