How to Determine When the Time has Come to Change your Vacuum Filter


If you have a bagless vacuum cleaner, which are becoming ever more popular these days, you will need to maintain its filter on a regular basis. Unlike more traditional vacuums where you just throw away the bag when it becomes full of dirt, a bagless one uses a canister and filter to pick up dust and debris. Once the canister is full up, you just empty it and then reattach it.

Bagless vacuum filters should often be cleaned, and from time to time you will need to replace them altogether. When to change your bagless vacuum filter depends on a few factors. How often you use the vacuum, what size house you have, how dirty your home gets and of course, the brand and type of cleaner you have.

Most vacuum cleaner manufacturers recommend changing the filter regularly. This ensures the machine is working efficiently and appropriately. A vacuum can lose up to 60% of its suction’ power if its filter is not functioning properly. A damaged or dirty filter prevents air moving through a vacuum system which is the action that picks up dirt and dust.

A clogged up filter will not remove the dust and dirt from your home as effectively. A clean filter is vital if you are using a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate arrestance) type vacuum to protect against asthma and allergies.

A filter that is damaged or matted with dirt will also cause a vacuum cleaner to use more electricity.

It is important you use new filters recommended by the manufacturer or are of a high standard. You can pick these up online at places such as FilterBuy (

HEPA filters

These type of filters are designed to trap 99.97% of the smallest of particles, down to 0.3 microns in size. They capture molds, bacteria, dust mites, pollen and all the other things allergy and asthma sufferers hate. Filters in vacuum cleaner filters need to be changed at least every two years. They also need to be regularly checked and cleaned to remain effective. If when vacuuming you can smell a musty odour, it is a definite sign you need to change the HEPA filter.

Carbon filters

These are also known as charcoal filters and good at removing unpleasant smells. They are useful if your home has pets or a smoker. Carbon filters need to be changed every two to three years to ensure the vacuum cleaner works correctly.

Other types of filters

Some vacuums have a pre-filter designed to trap large particles of dirt. These need to be checked and possibly changed every six months or so. Some filters called MicroFresh have chemicals in them specifically designed to prevent the build-up of fungi and algae and eliminate unpleasant odours. These also need to be checked and replaced on a similarly regular basis.

Whatever the type of filter, if it or the casing holding it in place is damaged, the filter should always be replaced.

There are two rules of thumb times when you need to change your vacuum cleaner filter. Firstly, if your machine is not sucking up dirt and dust the way it used to, it is time to change the filter. Secondly, if your vacuum cleaner is making strange or different noises, this is the motor straining to maintain suction. Chances are the filter needs replacing. These two scenarios, of course, presuppose that the motor is not on its last legs and about to die – then its time to buy a new vacuum cleaner altogether.