HEPA filters are the gold standard for air filtration, used by professionals and individuals alike. HEPA technology – both revolutionary and time-tested – is the most effective way to eliminate airborne particulates that can irritate the respiratory system. This improves indoor air quality and may help protect one's long-term health. HEPA filters are routinely used in many professional settings – in hospitals, during the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, of microchips, and in many other places. They are especially useful in medical facilities since they have been proven effective at helping stem the spread of viruses and bacteria. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even advised that healthcare professionals should use portable HEPA air purifiers to help combat the 2009 swine flu epidemic. But HEPA filters are not just for these professional settings. Portable HEPA air purifiers have become an effective way to reduce indoor pollutants in the home, as well.
History of HEPA Filters
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters were first developed during the 1940s and used in the Manhattan Project. This was the secret program to produce the atomic bomb. The US government's research already showed that exposure to radiation was lethal, so they needed a way to protect the scientists from the spread of airborne radioactive particles. HEPA filters were the answer. When the information about HEPA filters was de-classified during the 1950’s the acronym HEPA was trademarked.
Filter mats are made of borosilicate fibers (glass fibers) that are randomly arranged to form a sheet. The mats are then arranged in pleats in order to maximize the amount of surface area. Because of these pleats, fairly compact HEPA filters can remove large amounts of particles. When air flows through the filter mats, particles are trapped by the borosilicate fibers and removed from the airflow. The particles remain trapped in the filter as the clean air continues out of the filter. To be rated a true HEPA filter, it must remove 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns and larger.
Three Means of Particle Removal
HEPA filters trap particles in three ways: inertial impaction, interception, and diffusion. Larger particles – greater than 1 micron – are trapped via inertial impaction. Their relatively large mass means that inertia keeps them moving in a straight line toward fibers, even when the air flow diverts around the fibers. The large particles then impact the fiber, essentially sticking to them. Medium-sized particles are not big enough to be subject to a meaningful amount of inertia, but if they pass close enough to a fiber – within one fiber radius – they get intercepted by that fiber and stick to it. During diffusion, small particles – of less than .1 micron – randomly travel through the air, colliding with gas molecules and effectively bouncing around. Collisions with other molecules knock them into fibers if they pass closely enough. In this way, particles of various sizes are trapped, removing them from the air that leaves the filter.
Portable HEPA Air Purifiers
The Environmental Protection Agency has warned of the dangers of poor indoor air quality. HEPA air purifiers are one means of reducing indoor pollution in the home. These individual units contain HEPA filters that effectively remove pollen, dust, mold spores, pet dander, viruses and bacteria. Often air purifiers, such as the quality models produced by Austin Air, Airpura, IQAir, Amaircare and Oransi combine HEPA filters with activated carbon to remove an even wider range of pollutants from the air. Activated carbon filters remove odors, volatile organic compounds, smoke, smog, and fumes from household cleaners, among others. All of this helps to reduce the concentration of pollutants found in indoor air. These airborne pollutants can irritate the respiratory system, so their removal may help alleviate allergy symptoms, asthma symptoms, and the symptoms of other respiratory conditions. Indeed, studies have shown that the use of HEPA filters and other allergen-reducing measures significantly reduces asthma symptoms in children. While HEPA filters are not a cure-all, breathing healthy, clean air helps to promote better overall health. For those concerned about indoor air quality, a HEPA air purifier can be a helpful tool in their arsenal.
What Is The Difference Between A HEPA Filter And A HEPA Type Filter?
HEPA filters are made of densely formed glass fibers in a sealed environment that traps dirt, dust, mold spores and other environmental contaminants so tiny they cannot be seen. The industry test standard for removing these particles is 99.97% below 0.3 microns. This creates an extremely clean environment because these particles would need to be 150 times larger to be visible. The terms true HEPA or absolute HEPA came into being as more efficient filters were introduced into the market place. Actual HEPA filters are tested at the industry standard of 99.97% below 0.3 microns. These filters have serial numbers and are easily identified. Today many filters that are made similar to HEPA filters can be found in the market place. These filters may only capture up to 85% or 90% of dust particles. When testing for particles below 1 micron, the percentages get even lower. These HEPA imitations are less expensive and this makes them attractive to many buyers.
Benefiting Allergy And Asthma Sufferers?
Every day millions of people suffer from dust, dirt, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, skin flakes, seasonal pollens, and other particles that affect the quality of life in their homes. These particles float in the air and eventually settle into carpets, drapes, and furniture upholstery where they irritate the eyes, nose, and skin of sensitive individuals. Millions of dollars are spent every year seeking medication to relieve these symptoms. Introducing air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters, and HEPA filter vacuum cleaners into the home enables these allergy sufferers to remove the source of their problems from their environment. Using HEPA air purifiers and HEPA filter vacuum cleaners is the best choice for allergy sufferers. Once the decision is made to purchase a HEPA air purifier it is important to decide on the size of the area where it will be used. This will have a direct impact on the style and size of air purifier that will best suit your needs. It is important to know that the term HEPA is not a brand name but refers to the type and trademark of HEPA infiltration systems.
The Most Effective HEPA Air Purifier Brands
There are a number of excellent HEPA air purifiers available today. The most advanced HEPA air purifiers are made by IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi, Austin Air and Airpura. These brands are recommended by doctors as well as respiratory therapists who have found them to produce reliable products they can trust. When you select a quality air purifier from one of these manufacturers you are choosing an excellent product that offers peace of mind and quality indoor air for your family. Make the right choice for you and your family. Choose a HEPA air purifier that meets industry standards. Get the right product for the right size room at the right price. Choose HEPA air purifiers today.