Air Quality Mean Filters
That one thing you need to be knowledgeable about when it comes to improving the air quality in your homes is how to manage your HVAC Filters. Filtering is what that fancy appliance was made for in the first place — they were created to suck in all the impure particles floating around you and filter that separate from the clean, breathable air that was meant to be inhaled by human beings.
Any person who has ever been to a mall several times in their lives, or at least visited the home shopping tv network, or scrolled through the multitudes of amazing products listed online, or if by some miracle you’ve never experienced any of the three, we’re pretty sure some other person out there has tried to sell you something with false claims to get you to believe that what they are selling is the real thing. Well, we’ve all been there, and knowing the right kind of information is your best ally during these dark ages of misinformation.
So if you’re starting to have any doubts about whether or not your air filter at home or in your office is even working at all, now is the time to know the difference between true HEPA filters and HEPA-type filters.
Getting to Know HEPA
HEPA is an abbreviation for High Efficiency Particulate Air. They are sometimes otherwise termed as High Efficiency Particulate Arresting, and as the name suggests, filters that claim they are HEPA should mean that they can capture very fine particles from the air that are not immediately noticeable to your naked eye. These are special types of filters that capture things as small as microscopic particles such as dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, bacteria, smoke, and other particulate matter. We bet you’ve never seen a mold spore. That is unless you do have a microscope.
These kinds of particles are almost always the cause of allergies and other respiratory illnesses like asthma. What once was a mystery to the world as to why more children were “born” with asthma and how there were no immediate cures for them are now mainly just a question of: What is the level of air quality around you at home?
You will come across the following terms that will confuse you due to the closeness in similarity but we assure you these are real products and the companies that provide these filters may mean well, we just have to make sure we know what exactly it is that they stand for.
These similar terms that you will hear more often are:
- True HEPA
Although these are in no way scams, the salesman who’s been hustling to get your attention for your fifth time passing by aisle five at Happy Mall might do his best to try and get away with you thinking that all you need to know is that it is “somehow” HEPA and after that purchase then you can proceed with whatever chore you had to take care of next.
Awareness about these filters is crucial considering that the differences between all four of them are huge. If your main objective is to get the best bang out of your buck, you only need to look for True HEPA. That’s where your money’s at. That beast of a filter is the best type out of all four mentioned. It captures the widest range of contaminants, which is 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Sounds like a wonder product alright, but there are certain things that HEPA filters, even True HEPA filters cannot do. As much as it can capture microscopic demons, there are still even itsy bitsier things that could slip right through.
The possible microbial matter that cannot be filtered by any HEPA filters are:
- Chemical Gases
Kindly let your brave children know that before they get crazy with all their genius lab experiments at home.
Types of Air Filters
Truthfully HEPA is not the only thing available in the market. Now that you know the most talked about, here’s a full list that you’d want to explore on your own:
- Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation
- Activated Carbon
- Photocatalytic Oxidation
- Ionizer Purifiers
- Plasma Air Purifiers
- Immobilized Cell Technology
- Ozone Generators
- Titanium Dioxide
- Thermodynamic Sterilization
One good way to compare and contrast while you’re at it would be to look at a filter’s MERV rating which we’ve happily covered for you in another blog.
What can HEPA Filters Do?
We understand what it’s like to be on a budget. Nevertheless, it’s always good to understand the risks in purchasing more affordable options. The word ‘true’ in True HEPA exists for a good reason and that is because it is of the highest standard while anything sold to you claiming that it is not far off is inferior.
If True HEPA filters can block out 0.3 microns, basic HEPA, HEPA-like or HEPA-type filters can only capture 2 microns or larger. It does not seem like much in numerical form but that is actually a 500% difference in efficiency, which now should answer your doubts about whether that cool-looking supposed air-purifier beside you is working or not. That means fewer contaminants filtered out. Yes, it is cleaning your air but we wouldn’t advise you to write it off as a problem-solver just yet for tiny Tim who’s been sneezing his butt off since you’ve moved to new humble beginnings.
Can True HEPA Filters Protect Me from Covid-19?
The question of the year, and without further delay let us explore the probability of HEPA filters aiding you on your quest towards a pandemic-free home. In our previous blogs, we have talked about the fact that the COVID-19 virus has indeed been proven to be airborne, although still relatively new, there have been findings on this subject. So if someone happens to cough near you without a mask, a face shield, or anything, know that the virus has been shown to linger in the air for minutes.
SARS-CoV-2, the name of the virus that is responsible for causing COVID-19 is more or less 0.12 microns in diameter according to Mayo Clinic as they explain what types of masks are most effective against the little bugger. That should mean crossing the other HEPA filters out of your list.
That means yes they can as explained thoroughly by The New York Times.
What Air Quality is Considered Inhalable?
There is a national standard for what is inhalable or breathable and those specifications are set by the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency. Anything that is measured by 10 microns or smaller is considered to be safe. Already making our HEPA filters sounds incredible at what they do.
The smallest particulate matter that our eyes can see has to be at least 5 microns. Micron is the type of measurement we use to describe the size of an airborne particle. Adding to our list of vocabularies you have, inches, meters, feet, centimeters, and more for distances and other physical matter, and now we have microns to describe something that might be floating right under, in front, above, or beside our poor sensitive noses.
To put into perspective, a single micron would equal 1/1,000,000th of one meter or 0.00004 inches. 98% of all airborne particles are measured as less than one micron. So naturally, almost anything is inhalable. If a certain particle is safe is the real question.
Dust and dirt is an environmental pollutant and is one of the main concerns for many households and it’s why we’re looking to rely on this air-filter. Bear in mind that True HEPA filters can help block out 0.3 microns of particles while anything that is only similar can filter matter only as small as 2 microns or larger. Fine dust and dirt can start at 2.5 micrometers (which is the fuller term for a micron), or smaller. So while your affordable HEPA-like filters might do the job of eliminating something, it’s not getting rid of your problem entirely. In fact, it might be worse since it’s constantly moving air in and so best keep your purifiers in a place that’s a good distance from the box of Kleenex you wipe your nose with after binging on your favorite Netflix drama series. Otherwise, you could just be shoving a bunch of 0.8-micron particles up your airway. Not pleasant.
While your home should be your utmost priority when it comes to COVID-19 right now, you might be juggling some heavy responsibilities outside your own roof and caring for the safety of other people if you’re running a business or you could be head of an establishment and would require some assistance when it comes to filtering your indoor surroundings.
If you are already concerned about what’s circulating your office interiors, we would advise you to look into your AC’s filtration system. Heavier problems call for heavier solutions with which you can turn to AKCP for professional Air quality monitoring solutions.
With 30+ years of experience, AKCP created the market for networked air quality monitoring. Today with over 100 employees and 180,000 installations, AKCP is the world’s oldest and largest manufacturer of SNMP-enabled networked sensors.
Your modern world is surrounded by filters. From your air conditioner unit to your brand new air purifier, your car, your workplace, the restaurants you dine in, malls, and even government buildings. Today would be a good time to invest in a good air quality monitoring solution. On our next blog, we’ll be showing you how you’re supposed to clean your filters without ruining them, in high hopes that we’ve convinced you to invest in cleaning and monitoring the air inside your home.