What is a HEPA Filter?

Dirty used and new air cleaning filters. Time to replace filter concept.

The outside air is filled with pollutants, which can be damaging to your respiratory system and can worsen conditions like asthma and allergies. Unfortunately, the air inside your home can become just as bad if you aren’t careful, leading to health issues for you and your family.

However, there are some ways to improve the air quality inside your home and lower the risk of health issues. A good HEPA-standard air purifier, if chosen correctly and used properly, can relieve allergies and help prevent other health-related problems.

What is a HEPA Filter?

A HEPA filter, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter, is a standard for air filters set by the Department of Energy. Originally established during World War II, the HEPA filter was used to filter small particles created during the development of the atomic bomb. 

These days, HEPA filters trap small yet harmful pollutants by filtering the surrounding air through a fine mesh. Theoretically, this type of filter can remove at least 99.97% of air pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. Particles larger than 0.3 microns are trapped with even higher efficiency and are almost completely removed from the air.

For reference, a strand of hair is 70 microns wide. Anything smaller than 40 microns, which can include these tiny pollutants, is invisible to the human eye:

  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Pet dander
  • Lead dust
  • Mold particulates
  • Bacteria
  • Other airborne particulates

How Does a HEPA Filter Work?

Inside a HEPA filter, there are filter mats, which are composed of an array of interlaced glass fibers woven together in random patterns. Through various methods, these mats trap pollutants (big and small) and prevent them from getting back into the air. The smallest particles move erratically, making them likely to snag on glass fibers.

Choosing the Right HEPA Air Purifier

Hospitals, laboratories, aircrafts, and even cars use HEPA filters to help purify the air and prevent pollutants from causing health-related concerns. Depending on the needs of the space, the type of HEPA air purifier you’ll need will differ.

When choosing the right filter for your home, consider:

  • The size of the room you want to filter
  • Specific pollutants you’re concerned about (Ex. smoke or pet dander)
  • Noise levels
  • Price

Do your research before buying and be careful to check whether the product emits any unhealthy byproducts.

True HEPA vs. HEPA-Type

Be aware that just because a product is marketed as a HEPA filter, it may not meet official HEPA standards. True HEPA filters are thoroughly tested and trap 99.97% of air particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter. HEPA-type filters are less efficient with only 99% effectiveness in trapping particles as small as 2 microns.

Clean Air Delivery Rate

A product’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) measures how much air is filtered through the air purification device. The higher the rating, the faster and more frequently the filter will cycle the air in the room.

To determine the right size filter for your room, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers advises, “the CADR of your air cleaner should be equal to at least two-thirds of the room’s area.” So, if your room is 150 square feet, you should look for an air filter with a CADR rating of 100.

Indoor Air Purification with Pure Breathing

Pure Breathing Solutions is a licensed and bonded company dedicated to improving indoor air quality. We utilize professional HEPA-standard products, including air scrubbers and vacuums, to clean and purify homes across Minnesota. Our team addresses both high-traffic and hard-to-reach areas, as well as air ducts, to ensure you and your family can breathe easily in your home.

Learn more about our particulate cleaning process on our website. For information about clean indoor air, mold remediation, and more, visit our blog or contact us online.

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