How Long Do Respirator Filters Last?

by | Jul 9, 2021 | Personal Safety

When using a respirator, one of the most important things is knowing how long your respirator filters last. Lets look at the best ways of being able to tell when you should change them.

Knowing when to replace your respirator filters is the key to maximum protection against dust or gases.


Particulate Clogging

If you work in a particularly dusty environment such as a cement works or a biomass plant you will need to protect your lungs. Wear a half or full face mask or a powered air respirator with particulate filters. After a while, the filters will start clogging up and it will be more difficult to breath in the normal way. This is the first sign of the need to change the filters. Powered air respirators will alarm to say that the flowrate cannot be achieved so this is another way of knowing when to change the filters.


Soiling or Damage

If you are using a respirator with a particulate filter, make sure that you replace the filters as soon as there’s any damage or if the filter gets soiled. If you decide to ignore this, you are likely to be faced with breathing difficulties.

pro2000 filters

Gas Filters

Gas filters should be treated differently to particulate filters. Once the filter is opened, it should always be replaced after 6 months no matter how times it has been used or whether at all. Once a gas filter cartridge is open, it will continue to absorb absorb contaminants from the atmosphere. However, if the filter is unopened, it could have a shelf life up to 5 years. And remember that filters should never be used beyond their expiry date.

Another way of knowing when to change a gas filter is as soon as you can taste or smell the contaminants. Organic compounds like Ammonia or Hydrogen Sulphide have a strong smell and can leave a bitter taste in your mouth.

It is compulsory for companies that operate in hazardous environments to enforce a filter change schedule.


A Filter Change Schedule

To prepare a filter change schedule, you need to consider the following:

  • Contaminant type and concentration
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Effect of work rate on the filter
  • Company sterilisation policy relating to COVID-19
  • Storage conditions


How Can Storage Conditions Affect Your Filter?

When your respirator and filters are not in use, you need to think carefully about where you should store them. Poor storage can dramatically affect the product lifetime. Prior to storing away, the respirator and filter should be cleaned and dried. Containers with a seal (an ice cream tub or sandwich box) are suitable for storage. Store away from direct sunlight and out of corrosive atmospheres.



Being organised with a filter change schedule is the first step to ensuring that filters are changed in a timely manner. Timely reminders can be set and communicated through safety teams.  Filters can be purchased and sent out to users to ensure that they always have spare filters ready to connect. This is probably the easiest way to ensure that filter changes take place in larger teams.

Outside of a schedule, the reliance is with the user to remember to change filters. Alternatively, wait for breathing to become difficult but by then you’re on the backfoot.


Scott Safety Pro2000 Filters

Scott Safety (now 3M) Pro2000 filters are proven to be an excellent choice for use in workplaces with different types of contaminants. They typically use a standard 40mm DIN screw thread whilst providing high quality and cost efficient protection.

Contaminants filters are most commonly identified as:

Particle filters trap solid and liquid particles, e.g. dusts, smoke, welding fumes, mists, micro-organisms and radioactive particles
Gas filters protect against organic and inorganic gases and vapours
Combined filters protect against both gaseous and particulate contaminants

a1-cbiss have a broad range of Pro2000 filters available. Most filters types are stocked and available on a next day delivery.