Using a HEPA Air Purifier in Your Home
HEPA air purifiers remove most airborne particles such as smoke, dust, pet dander, mold, and pollen. True HEPA filters are considered the gold standard for the Air Purifier industry. These filters are widely used in today’s commercial airliners to combat the spread of airborne pathogens. There are many factors to consider when investing in an air purifier, and it is important to understand the benefits of an air purifier with a HEPA filter. In order to understand the benefits, one must first understand the meaning, what the filter actually does, and how it works.
Benefits of HEPA filters:
- Effectively reduce smoke, per dander, dust, pollen, mold, and allergens
- Capture 99.97% of microscopic particles .3 microns and larger
- Effectively reduce indoor pollutants or VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
- Effectively reduce airborne pathogens
Drawbacks of HEPA filters:
- Pure HEPA filters without activated carbon do not effectively eliminate ODOR
- HEPA air purifiers are more expensive than other types of air purifiers
- HEPA air filters must be replaced
What does the word HEPA mean?
The acronym “HEPA” refers to the term High Efficiency Particulate Air. In layman’s terms, this means the filter has been tested, certified, and labeled in accordance with current HEPA filtration standards. There are many levels of HEPA classification, but minimum HEPA standards require up to a 99.97% filtration rate of the particles at least .3 microns in size.
What is a HEPA air purifier and how does it work?
A HEPA air purifier is a machine that continuously draws in air, sieves the air through a series of high quality filters, and releases clean air back into the room. HEPA air purifiers come equipped with a series of special filters designed to eliminate 99.97% of particles at least .3 microns in size. These layered filters comprise of ultra-fine glass-fiber mesh traps. The fibers use several mechanisms such as diffusion, interception and inertial impaction to capture the microscopic particles. As the purifier pushes these particles back into the air, these filters catch the particles releasing only filtered, cleaner and fresher smelling air back into the room.
How well do Air Purifiers with HEAP filters actually work?
Major airliners use HEPA filters to purify the airtight cabins on planes and reduce the passing of pathogens through the air. HEPA filtration is also recognized by the CDC for effectively capturing pathogens, microbial spores and other contaminants released in patient isolation rooms. HEPA filters use a glass-fiber medium to capture 99.97% of microscopic particles at least .3 microns in size. To put this in prospective, the average diameter of a single strand of hair is 7 microns. Thanks to HEPA filtration technology, these air purifiers can effectively reduce smoke, dust, mold, pet dander, allergens, and germs.
How often do HEPA filters need to be changed?
There are several factors to consider when determining how long to use a HEPA filter in your air purifier. Some of the key determinates include the duration of use, humidity levels surrounding the purifier, and the concentration of airborne pollutants in the room. An air purifier that is placed in a tobacco factory would obviously need to be changed more often than one placed in a clean room. Thanks to advancements in air purifier technology, many purifiers come equipped with an easy-to-read filter change indicator to notify users when the HEPA filter needs changing. A general rule of thumb for in home use is to change your HEPA filter once every year.
Are there different types of HEPA air purifiers?
When searching for a HEPA air purifier it is important to make sure that you are buying a product with a genuine HEPA filter (99.97% of particles at .3 microns). Many advertisers will make vague descriptions such as: “HEPA-like” and “HEPA-type”. These descriptions indicate that the filters are not “true-HEPA” filters and should be avoided. A true HEPA purifier advertisement should always quote the numbers.
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Frank is the chief editor and director at Specialty Air, where he oversees testing, research, and editing for all air quality-related articles. Frank is an expert in the air quality space with extensive experience testing, researching, and reviewing air purifiers, air conditioners, air filters, air fresheners, fans, and more. He also has over 4 years of experience with issues surrounding mold remediation, radon mitigation, moisture management, air duct systems, HVAC, and insulation.