Are HEPA Filters the Best Choice for Air Purification?

Currently, HEPA filters are considered to be the best filters for removing airborne particulates, such as mold spores, dust, dandruff, and pollen. A HEPA-type filter only has an efficiency rating of 99% and is effective for capturing particles of 0.2 microns in size. While this may seem more impressive (compared to True HEPA's 0.3 effectiveness), it's not. First of all, there is no “air purifier” or, as the name suggests, an air filter that purifies the air.

Some units equipped with ultraviolet (UV) light kill viruses and bacteria, but even this doesn't purify all the air you breathe. The best thing any air filter can do is to remove the small particles that pass through the filter. An official website of the United States Government Use of official websites. Government website belongs to an official United States government organization.

All air filters require regular cleaning and filter replacement to work properly. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance and replacement. Minimum Efficiency Report Values, or MERV, indicate the ability of a filter to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns (µm). Average particle size efficiency in microns.

ULPA filters trap more and smaller particles than HEPA filters. ULPA filters are 99.999% effective at removing submicron particles of 0.12 microns or more in diameter, while HEPA filters are 99.97% effective at removing particles of 0.3 microns in diameter or more. HEPA filters can be combined with pre-filters to trap larger particles before they come into contact with the main filter. According to the EPA, a HEPA filter must remove at least 99.97% of the largest particles, at least 0.3 microns in size.

This reduction is due to the air first passing through the HEPA filter and going through the UV-C process. HEPA air purifiers are considered by many to be the best option, but there is a filter that technically blocks more pollutants from the air. The carbon prefilter also captures smoke, odors, harmful gases, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which HEPA filters cannot trap. The term HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) describes filters designed to capture 99.7 percent of all particles of 0.3 microns or less (too small to see, but the perfect size to penetrate the lungs).

While the filter may still be able to capture 0.3 micron particles and capture a high percentage of them, unless true HEPA is confirmed, it cannot claim to meet DOE HEPA standards. HEPA filters are the most commonly used filtration technology in commercial and residential environments. As defined by the DOE, HEPA filters can capture up to 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm), also known as the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). HEPA is a type of pleated mechanical air filter known as a high-efficiency particulate air filter and refers to its air quality cleaning measurement developed by the Department of Energy (DOE) after the Manhattan Project in the 1940s.

These considerations about HEPA filters are essential when your goal is to reduce viral transmission by aerosol. When looking for portable air purifier solutions for your facility, it's critical to know the difference between HEPA filters, True HEPA, HEPA, and other types of HEPA filters. HEPA air filters are particularly good at removing particles such as mold, pet dander, dust, and other allergens. HEPA and ULPA filters are designed for use in a variety of applications, including industrial vacuums to remove asbestos, remove toner dust from office equipment, prevent the spread of bacteria in surgical operating rooms, and other crucial medical air filtration applications.

HEPA filters can be used in any environment, including industrial, commercial, healthcare and by consumers. Unfortunately, because of the trademark, a HEPA-type filter can be sold under the pretext of deceiving consumers into believing that the HEPA type is similar to or as effective as True HEPA. These complex HEPA filters exceed the typical MERV rating scale, making them the most effective and popular choice for many industries.