We get asked on occasion “Can anybody can change a compressed air inline filter element or do I need to get someone in to do it?” As with many aspects of compressed air treatment, there’s no straight forward answer. Although the physical act of changing a filter element isn’t too difficult and can generally be done by most people, if not carried out properly it can lead to many problems making the filters ineffectual. More importantly, this change out offers an opportunity to inspect the housings, elements and auto drain for signs of contamination, damage and other issues within the compressed air system itself. These signs may be missed by an untrained person, not familiar with the idiosyncrasies of compressed air and filtration. For critical applications such as breathing air or food preparation, missing these indicators can prove quite dangerous and/or costly. As an example, a malfunctioning auto drain will allow the condensate removed from the compressed air stream by the filter to build up and flood the unit. This condensate will then be drawn back into the air stream, contaminating all the downstream processes the filter is supposed to protect. An inexperienced person may not even consider this and simply empty out the filter bowl, replace the element and fail to identify any problem at all.
Regular air quality testing can give some peace of mind and is recommended as a very important point of reference, but in reality it’s only good for that particular point in time. It’s certainly possible that the very next day the air will no longer pass the test due to failures within the compressed air system itself. Frequent air quality testing along with preventative maintenance carried out by a competent person, is the only sure way to minimise any costly contamination issues, keeping workers safe and avoiding any compensation claims. The compressed air industry generally recommend the following products to be changed at the suggested intervals.
- Activated Carbon Odour Removal – Change out every 6 months or 1000 hours of operation (whichever comes first) or if oil odour/taste is noticed.
- Coalescing Oil/Water & Particulate Removal – Change out every 12 months or 2000 hours of operation (whichever comes first) or if significant pressure drop is noticed.
- Auto Drains – Change out annually as part of preventative maintenance measures.
So for these reasons we recommended that inline compressed air filters should ideally be changed at the required intervals by trained, experienced individuals who can identify any problems within the whole compressed air system, to ensure the best possible air for the end-user.
You can find high-quality alternative replacement elements for most major brands on our website https://nationalfilters.com.au/product-category/alternative-replacements/
And replacement auto drains at https://nationalfilters.com.au/product-category/condensate-drains/alternative-filter-drains/