High-efficiency particulate air filters, also known as HEPA filters, help improve air quality. It’s important to understand what they are capable of. Here are a few things to know about HEPA filters for the home.
6 Things to Know About HEPA Filters for the Home
#1 HEPA Filters Have Been Around for Over 70 Years
HEPA filters came into use during the 1940s in nuclear facilities to keep people from breathing radiant airborne particulates. Hospitals started using them in the 1960s to prevent the spread of germs. Today, you can use HEPA filters in several types of home appliances.
#2 HEPA Filters Offer Relief From Some Allergies
Dust, pollen, and pet dander are three allergens that commonly cause allergic reactions. They also aggravate asthma. HEPA filters for the home can reduce allergens in the air.
#3 HEPA Filters Do Not Remove Everything
By definition, a HEPA filter is one that can remove more than 99 percent of all pollutants that are 0.3 microns or larger. Bacteria, for example, range from 0.2 to 1 micron in size. Bacteria over 0.3 will be trapped by the filter. However, when bacteria start to decompose, they break apart and release endotoxins which are often small enough to pass through a HEPA filter.
#4 Not Every HEPA Filter is Truly HEPA
There is no federal regulation that requires a filter with the letters “HEPA” on the label to meet certain guidelines. Look for filters that have been certified to meet true HEPA standards set by the Department of Energy. The manufacturer should place this information on the label. If the label says “HEPA-like” or “HEPA-style”, it probably isn’t a true HEPA filter.
#5 Some Home Appliances Come With HEPA Filters
Most HEPA filters for the home are found in three types of appliances: portable air purifiers, whole-house filtration systems, and vacuum cleaners. Single room air purifiers help remove allergens in a limited space, while whole-house filtration systems work with the HVAC to clean the air. HEPA vacuum cleaners remove smaller particles of bacteria, dust, and mold than a regular vacuum can.
#6 Replace HEPA Filters More Frequently
The fine mesh of a HEPA filter will get clogged faster than a normal air filter. That’s why they need to be replaced frequently. Otherwise, the appliance will not be able to do its job effectively.
If you or someone in your household suffers from asthma or allergies, HEPA filters may help.
Checkpoint Home Inspections provides home inspection services and indoor air quality sampling. Contact us to schedule our services in Northwest Oregon.