You have heard about HEPA air purifiers but don’t really understand what HEPA means and why it may be the best choice for you?
Here is a brief explanation of the term HEPA, and everything you need to know about HEPA air purifiers.
What is HEPA
You may have heard of this four-letter abbreviation before when shopping for a vacuum cleaner or an air purifier, but what does HEPA stand for and why is it something which you may need?
HEPA is an abbreviation for High-Efficiency Particulate Air.
HEPA filters are capable of capturing and trapping microscopic particles and keeping them in the filter of your air purifier or vacuum cleaner, rather than out in the air you breathe.
HEPA filters can successfully capture some of the most common allergens floating around the air of your home, including dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and other pollutants.
HEPA air purifiers have dense filters that trap the airborne particles and prevent them from becoming airborne again. The allergens remain in the filter until it is replaced or cleaned.
Air purifiers with HEPA filters can help alleviate the symptoms of allergies, asthma, and make breathing easier for people with respiratory problems. They will also help prevent the allergens from contacting the eyes and skin and irritating them as well.
Are all HEPA filters the same?
It is important to understand that not all air purifiers which are being marketed as HEPA have the same efficiency when it comes to removing the allergens and other microscopic particles from the air.
There are several specific terms associated with HEPA which you should be wary about when choosing the best HEPA air purifier for your specific needs.
When you are browsing through the different air purifiers on the market, make sure you pay attention to the exact labeling of the units. Some are referred to as True HEPA, and others are just HEPA, HEPA-like, or HEPA-type.
True HEPA air purifiers
If you want the first-rate and most efficient air purifier which will remove up to 99.97% of all of the allergens and microscopic pollutants sized as small as 0.3 microns, then you should opt for a True HEPA air purifier.
In order to carry this label, the device should be tested and should meet the strict standards set by the US Department of Energy.
The standards set for the True HEPA filters affirm that they should be able to capture 99.97% of the airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
A human hair has a diameter of 5 microns, so you can imagine just how tiny the particles which are 0.3 microns are. Still, no matter how small these airborne contaminants are they can still trigger allergic or respiratory, or skin reactions in people with allergies, asthma, or sensitivities.
HEPA type and HEPA like air purifiers
These air purifiers have not met the standards or passed the tests for the True HEPA label. Thus they are not capable of capturing as many and as small particles as the True HEPA filters. These devices may be capable of capturing airborne pollutants which are as small as 2 to 5 microns only.
Many manufacturers use the terms HEPA like and HEPA type in order to get more buyers to buy their air purifiers, without paying attention to the actual term and to the fine print.
These are usually less expensive and have inferior filters which may not be able to clean the air in your home as you have expected. If you are not allergic or don’t have respiratory problems, a cheaper HEPA like filter may do the job to get the larger pollutants out of the air, but if you are looking for a top-quality air-cleaning unit, you should opt for a True HEPA type.
The types of True HEPA filters
The True HEPA filters can come in one of two main types.
Some of them are made of highly dense degradable paper that captures the microscopic pollutants and traps them inside the filter. These need to be replaced periodically.
Others come with washable mesh True HEPA filters that can be reused, and thus you don’t need to spend money on buying replacements over time.
Keep in mind that the high-end and top-quality True HEPA air purifiers which cover larger areas are always fitted with the degradable True HEPA filters, which will need to be replaced every few months or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Pros and cons of True HEPA air purifiers
Pros of using a True HEPA air purifier
- It is the best choice for people with pet, dust, mold, or pollen allergies, as well as for people with asthma, COPD, and other respiratory problems, as it can capture even the smallest allergens and airborne contaminants
- Once the dust, mold, dander, or pollen is captured in the True HEPA filter it will never re-enter the air again, because it remains trapped inside the filter
- They will save you money for doctors, medication, and treatment of allergic and asthmatic reactions
Cons of using a True HEPA air purifier
- In most cases, the filters need to be replaced, which can be quite costly, especially as compared to the air purifiers which come with reusable, washable permanent filters
- True HEPA filters are not very efficient for removing bad odors, bacteria, viruses, and germs, so if you want an air purifier that can remove odors, make sure that it has an activated carbon filter which is highly efficient. If you need a purifier which will kill off the harmful microbes from the air, opt for one with a UV light which will kill all germs, viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms.
As you can see, there are both pros and cons of getting a True HEPA air purifier, but even if a good quality device will cost you more than one without such a filter, and even though you will need to buy replacements for the degradable True HEPA filters, you should consider getting an air-cleaning device like this if there are people suffering from respiratory problems, allergies or babies or elderly people at home.
In the long run, an expensive air purifier will actually help you save money for doctors’ appointments, and for medication. Also, it will give you peace of mind that the triggers for allergies, asthma, or other conditions your family members have are being removed efficiently.
Also, True HEPA air purifiers are great for homes with pets, as they can capture the pet dander and pet hair, and if they have an added activated carbon filter can also get rid of the pet odors as well.
Overall, a good quality HEPA air purifier can do wonders for health and wellbeing, as well as for cleanliness at home. By breathing allergen-free, fresh air, you will stay healthy, sleep better, be in a better mood, and will be less prone to various illnesses and infections.
So, it is definitely an investment worth making if you want the best for yourself and for your family.
- HEPA Filter Benefits for Allergy Relief – WebMD
- What Are the Differences Between a HEPA & a True HEPA Filter
- HEPA – Wikipedia
- HEPA Filters: What They Are & How They Work – Allergy & Air