Pollutants and allergens in our indoor air are a growing concern for homeowners. HEPA filters are popular solutions to these problems. Here are some things to know about HEPA filters for your home.
#1 What is a HEPA filter?
“HEPA” is an efficiency standard for air filters, monitored by the Department of Energy. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. To be labeled HEPA, the filter must remove at least 99.97 percent of pollutants in the air that measure larger than .3 microns. Microns are microscopic particles, measuring one-millionth of a meter.
#2 How Long Have They Been Around?
HEPA filters were designed to filter out harmful radiation particles from the air in nuclear facilities in the 1940s. Hospitals started using them in the 1960s as a more effective way to control hazardous germs in the air. Today, you can benefit from HEPA filters for your home to help clean the indoor air.
#3 What Methods are in Place to Regulate HEPA Filter Standards?
The U.S. Department of Energy classifies HEPA filters as being 99.97 percent effective at removing harmful particles from the air that are larger than .3 microns. Manufacturers have their filters tested and certified to comply with DOE requirements, labeling their products appropriately. Filters named HEPA-style, HEPA-type, or HEPA-like have not been tested and most likely do not meet DOE requirements.
#4 Where are HEPA Filters Most Commonly Used in the Home?
Two of the most common household appliances that use HEPA filters for your home are vacuum cleaners and air purifiers. You can also have your home equipped with a whole-house HEPA filtration system.
#5 How Long Do the Filters Last?
HEPA filters need to be switched out more often than other types of air filters. It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how often to change the filters. HEPA filters are also more expensive than other less-effective air filters.
#6 Do HEPA Filters for Your Home Help Allergy Sufferers?
Common particles in the air that cause allergies like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites, are large enough to be trapped by a HEPA filter. This makes HEPA filters especially useful for allergy sufferers.
#7 What About Viruses and Bacteria?
Unfortunately, using HEPA filters for your home will not filter out viruses, because of their small size. However, most bacteria will be contained by the filters.
#8 Will HEPA Filters Help With Mold?
Since mold spores are larger than .3 microns, quality HEPA filters for your home will trap airborne spores and keep them from recirculating indoors.
#9 Do HEPA Filters Catch Volatile Organic Compounds?
Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, are byproducts of items like hair sprays, chemical cleaners, paints, and other household products. HEPA filters are not effective at trapping VOCs because of their microscopic size.