All about HEPA Filtration | HowtoHome

All about HEPA Filtration

When it comes to air purifiers and vacuum cleaners, we hear the term “HEPA filtration” all the time. As consumers, we have come to connect the HEPA acronym with quality and clean air.

What is a HEPA filter and why are they held up as an industry standard benchmark for our air purifiers and vacuum cleaners?

This article investigates the various layers of HEPA filtration and why it is beneficial as a component of your vacuum cleaner and air purifier.

What Does HEPA Mean?

HEPA is the acronym of “High-Efficiency Particulate Air.” In layman’s terms, A HEPA filter can capture harmful particulates to a high degree to make the air we breathe as pure as it can be. HEPA filters were developed and initially trademarked in the 1950’s, however, over time the term HEPA has become more of a generic name to symbolize highly efficient filters.

According to industry standards, a HEPA filter must remove 99.97 percent of particulates that have a size no more significant than 0.3 microns. Many governments recognize HEPA across the world as the industry standard on clean air filtration.

Household Products that Use HEPA Filtration

There are two main products that we use in our homes that utilize HEPA filtration: vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. Let’s look at why HEPA filtration is important in both cases:

Vacuum Cleaners

Think about all that dust embedded in the carpet or rugs. When you vacuum, you disturb that dust by sucking it into the machine. The vacuum has to trap that bad stuff and stop it from spewing into the room through the exhaust port, which is where the HEPA filter comes in. This filter traps the pollutants, making sure that the air from the exhaust port is cleaner than the air in the room. And best of all, the debris is concealed in the vacuum, so it poses no threat to you or your family.

It’s worth pointing out that not all manufacturers use HEPA in their vacuum cleaners. HEPA filters are typically fitted as standard in more up-market models, but in the budget models, you have to shop around to find them. Why? It boils down to cost: a HEPA filter is typically more expensive than a company brand filter. Along these lines, it is also important to note the difference between a “HEPA-type” filter and a “true HEPA” filter. Some manufacturers now claim to offer HEPA-type filters that can trap particles with 99 percent efficiency. This efficiency is good, but this labeling can nevertheless be misleading as it is not a true HEPA filter.

Portable Air Purifiers

Portable air purifiers are small, compact units that sit on the sideboard, quietly drawing in bad air in exchange for clean air released into the room. Much like the HEPA filter in the vacuum cleaner, the purifier traps the nasty debris, making sure that you have clean, breathable air. Accordingly, HEPA filtration can boost the effectiveness and efficiency of these air purifiers by trapping these contaminants before they can re-enter your air, thereby helping improve the quality of the air you breathe no matter where you live.

Do I Need HEPA Filtration in My Home?

Whether you live in the rural reaches of the countryside or the downtown district of a modern metropolis, HEPA filtration can help improve your air quality. Those in the city might have to grapple with higher rates of air pollutants; there are many airborne molecules in rural areas, just as there are in areas of heavy industry. Furthermore, even if those in the countryside might have escaped the smog, they still might suffer from debilitating seasonal allergies. The clean air that HEPA filtration can provide can help in either scenario.

MERV vs HEPA Ratings?

Some might think that their HVAC filters offer optimum filtration, but these systems typically do not have HEPA; rather, these units are measured by a different standard of efficiency known as MERV. Because HEPA is a rating in its own right, we need to distinguish the two.

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values) is a standardized way of rating filters used in HVAC and central filtration systems. A filter is rated with a  score between 1 and 20, the higher numbers reflecting superior filtration. Domestic HVAC systems should have filters rated between 6 and 13; meanwhile, HEPA filtration, which typically maps to a MERV rating 17-20, should be reserved for your vacuums and air purifiers.

Conclusion

In portable appliances, nothing tops HEPA for performance. HEPA filters in vacuums and air purifiers are developed to enhance the technology of the device, not hinder it. To date, no one has surpassed HEPA filters for performance in air purifiers and vacuum cleaners, making it one of the most efficient filters that money can buy.