Maintenance and cleaning of air purifiers
Continued use of air purifiers and the maintenance and cleaning of air purifiers is a key part of keeping schools safe and is part of the regular maintenance of school assets. Schools should include air purifier maintenance and cleaning in their School Maintenance Plan.
Schools are responsible for the general maintenance and cleaning of their air purifiers. Contract cleaners will not clean the device.
There are 3 elements of the purifier that require cleaning and/or replacement:
- HEPA filters
Maintenance or cleaning should be undertaken in a well-ventilated space. Single-use surgical masks and gloves are recommended to be worn when cleaning pre-filters or replacing HEPA filters, for general hygiene purposes. Hand hygiene should be performed after cleaning and maintenance.
No action is required to the cleaning of the pre-filter or replacement of the HEPA filter if confirmed infectious disease cases have been in the room where an air purifier has been running.
Schools should clean the surface of the device regularly in line with the manufacturer’s guidance. Contractor cleaners will treat the air purifiers in a similar way to other electrical items, which normally includes dusting.
Cleaning the pre-filters
Each air purifier has 2 pre-filters which are visible once the front cover of the device is unclipped.
The pre-filters are to be cleaned every 5 to 6 weeks when the purifier is being used every weekday (or twice per term). For example, this could be done mid-term and towards the end of term. This is based on the expected use in a school setting. It is different to the recommendation of every 2 weeks in the manufacturer’s manual, which is based on 24/7 use.
Removing the pre-filter does not require tools. The pre-filters clip into the device in front of the HEPA filter. For further information on how to remove the pre-filter for cleaning, please refer to the .
There are 3 ways to clean a pre-filter:
- Pre-filters can be cleaned with a duster or soft brush to remove dust. This is recommended to be undertaken outside.
- Pre-filters can be vacuumed to remove dust. This can be done within the immediate vicinity of the air purifier unit. It is preferable to use a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.
- Pre-filters can be washed with water. It is important that pre-filters are completely dry before being re-inserted into the air purifier. To speed up drying time, it is recommended that filters are initially manually dried with an absorbent cloth (such as a microfibre cloth) and left to air dry, away from direct sunlight, before being reinstalled into the device.
Schools can arrange this work at their discretion. Schools may also consider using the following:
- the current HVAC contractor that cleans and maintains the school’s air-conditioning filters
- the school maintenance person.
Schools may order additional cleaning with their current cleaning services provider. For more information on funding arrangements please see below.
Replacing the HEPA filter
Each air purifier has 2 HEPA filters which are visible once the front cover of the device is unclipped.
Six replacement HEPA filters per air purifier have been provided to schools. This is expected to cover replacements for approximately 2 years based on the estimated replacement every 6 to 12 months. This will depend on the use case and operating environment of each device.
Replacement of the HEPA filter should occur when the device alerts. Replace both HEPA filters at this time.
No tools are required to replace HEPA filters. They clip into the device behind the pre-filter, which must be removed before replacing the HEPA filter.
Place used HEPA filters in a sealed bag and dispose of in general waste. Used HEPA filters are not recyclable
Where possible, HEPA filters should be stored in the proper vertical position, as marked on the container. For ease of replacement, it is recommended that replacement filters are stored near their associated air purifier unit.
Funding for maintenance and cleaning of air purifiers
As with the regular maintenance of school assets, school staff do not need to undertake the maintenance and cleaning of air purifiers themselves. Schools can choose to use Student Resource Package (SRP) funding and other school funds.
In managing the financial impact of cleaning air purifiers schools should do the following:
- review and revise annual budgets to reflect the latest revenue and expenditure projections
- update the school cashflow budget to align with new budget projections
- identify funds available to manage any shortfall in existing budgets including:
- unspent school infrastructure funding including maintenance and annual contracts and essential services funding
- current year SRP credit surpluses
- prior-year SRP credit surpluses
- cash at bank including surpluses from trading and commercial activities
- re-prioritising funds for planned capital expenditure where capital works have not yet been approved.
Schools should access their operating reserve to support operational expenses, where required.
If the School Financial Management Support Unit establishes that a school cannot meet the cost associated with the maintenance of air purifiers using the above mechanisms, additional funding may be provided.
Damage or theft of air purifiers
For operational issues and faults with air purifiers, call Samsung on (then select option 9, option 6). Units provided to schools do not require proof of purchase for servicing. Schools are advised to provide the unit serial number and inform service centres that the unit is part of the Victorian Department of Education and Training rollout. Schools are advised to contact Samsung directly (on the above number) to replace faulty or damaged units under warranty.
In certain circumstances, the department will replace air purifiers that are not covered under warranty. These include some instances of accidental damage or theft.
In the event of theft of an air purifier, schools should report the theft to the police in the first instance. When reporting a stolen air purifier to the department, schools should include a statutory declaration.
Reviewed 18 October 2022