How Often Should You Replace the HEPA Filter in a Biosafety Cabinet?

HEPA filters should be replaced every 3 to 5 years, depending on the cumulative hours of operation, the cleanliness of the laboratory, and the materials used in the BSC. Changing or cleaning the pre-filter on a regular basis can extend the life of a HEPA filter. With self-adjusting motor technology, the life expectancy of a HEPA or ULPA filter can be well over 10 years. To prevent damage to the cabinet during replacement and ensure test results after installation, filter replacement should be done by specialists.

Our institution conducts mechanical function tests of biosafety cabinets after assembly. Our organization offers change service with its service and maintenance team. If the HEPA filter is placed inside the housing, the replacement procedure is much easier. Even with a filter with a load greater than 75%, an acceptable airflow rate was maintained.

Not only in terms of replacement cost, but also in terms of laboratory safety during the replacement process, downtime and associated costs, it is important to consider filter replacement. At the end of the day, these filters are mechanical parts like anything else you will find in the composition of your unit, so you should ensure that they are tested and inspected periodically to identify any faults in them or in the ventilation system. The energy savings achieved by using some of today's new energy-efficient motor designs can be offset by replacing HEPA filters more frequently. Your staff can perform their tasks safely, their cabinets are efficient, and you'll know that costly filter replacements will be few and far between.

The costs associated with filter replacement add up quickly; here's what you need to know to keep your filter in the best possible condition. Supply filter loads ranged from approximately 3% to 17%, and exhaust filter load percentages were as low as 5.8%. That's when replacement is inevitable and you'll need professional help to safely remove the existing filter and replace it with a new one. So how long should a HEPA filter last? How often do you need to clean it and when is it inevitable to replace it? Will a filter housing extend its lifespan? Biosafety cabinet filter replacements are costly, both in terms of the replacement itself and the cabinet downtime. Often, the best way to extend the life of the filter is to use other tools and parts that contribute when the filter is not 100% clean.

The data (available on request) show that, after 10 years of use in a typical laboratory environment, neither the supply nor the exhaust filters justified replacement.