Indoor air quality is a problem for many homes, and it’s not unlikely that you struggle with it. If you have problems like allergies, asthma, or any other respiratory condition, then you might be wondering what you can do to improve your air so you can start breathing easier in your own home. One idea might be to switch to HEPA filters in your HVAC system.
HEPA filters have become sort of a marketing tool for companies that produce machines that move air, such as vacuum cleaners. Most people know that these filters are renowned for their ability to eliminate a huge percentage of airborne particles, so why shouldn’t you install one of these filters in your heating and cooling system to clean the air in your home? On this blog we’ll take a closer look at exactly what a HEPA filter is and explain how less can sometimes be more when it comes to air filtration in your home.
What Is a HEPA Filter?
A “HEPA Filter” is one of those things you have probably heard of but aren’t exactly sure what it is. After all, you have probably seen the word slapped all over advertisements for a vacuum cleaner or air purifier system, as it implies a higher standard of quality. “HEPA” stands for “high efficiency particulate air,” and essentially means this particular filter has passed a stringent test of its abilities. In order to receive HEPA certification in the United States, a filter must be capable of filtering out 99.97% of all particulates that measure 0.3 microns (that’s roughly one percent of the width of a thin human hair). In other words, HEPA filters are filters that are capable of a pretty high degree of air cleaning.
The HEPA designation has only been around for approximately 40 years or so, but the actual filtration technology can be dated as far back as World War II. Scientists working on developing the atomic bomb as a part of the Manhattan Project were concerned about radioactive particles escaping into the laboratories they were working in, so they developed HEPA filters to strain out these radioactive particles and keep them protected. Today, HEPA filters are used to protect the most sensitive environments on the planet, including controlled laboratories, clean rooms, clean factories (such as microchip manufacturing and electronic plants), and even the International Space Station.
You might have seen something advertised as being a “True HEPA” device, and to be honest this doesn’t mean a whole lot. In some cases, companies use this to indicate that the filter used adheres to American standards as opposed to European standards, which allow a much greater amount of leniency when it comes to filtration of 0.3-micron particles.
HEPA-Quality Indoor Air
If you struggle with indoor air quality, then the idea of a HEPA filter might sound amazing. A hospital-grade air filter for your own home? Surely that would help you breathe easier and enjoy a cleaner home all year long. However, this idea isn’t as great as it might seem. Allow us to explain.
Your HVAC system depends on a blower fan that forces air through your air filter and then over your cooling coil (or heat exchanger) before pushing it out to your home through your duct system. Blower fans are designed to run at a particular power level, and that means they can only handle a certain amount of resistance from your air filter. If your air filter provides too much resistance due to your filter being too restrictive, your system could see a dramatic loss of efficiency, a decrease in longevity, and plenty of other issues as well. In fact, a filter that is too restrictive can cause everything from blower fan failure to electrical issues to even your air conditioner freezing over entirely.
Likewise, there is another issue with HEPA filters: the filters themselves. Most HEPA filters for HVAC systems are substantially more expensive than their standard counterparts, and that means you will have to spend quite a bit more to change your filter than you did before. Plus, with the added filtration, you’ll probably have to change the filter more often as it will fill up far faster than it was previously. All of that means you are far better off sticking with a standard filter instead.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your air quality with a HEPA device. Air purifier systems will sometimes take advantage of a HEPA filter as a part of the purification process. There are tons of different options available, so we recommend talking to a member of our team about your indoor air issues and learning what improvements you can make.Tired of breathing poor-quality air? Call Moe Plumbing at (818) 396-8002 and schedule a service for your indoor air quality today!