With the ongoing threat of the Coronavirus, winter weather and flu season on the way, we have been fielding a lot of questions about HEPA filters, as well as other types of air filters for HVAC systems. Even for industry outsiders, HEPA filters are associated with the best of the best — the gold standard.
But what does HEPA even mean? And are HEPA filters actually preferable to other filters?
First off, HEPA is just an acronym for high efficiency particulate air. The high efficiency part of the term refers to the fact that a HEPA filter is designed to efficiently capture most of the tiny critters, bacteria and particulates that can make the hours of our lives suddenly feel like days or weeks.
What the fine print will tell you is that HEPA filters are able to trap up to around 99.97 percent of the tiny particles, pollutants and allergens that are found in most indoor air environments, down to a size of about 0.3 microns. This means HEPA filters are an effective means of reducing or even completely eliminating dust mites, pollen and bacteria, as these can range between 1 and 100 microns.
So why aren’t people rushing out to clear the shelves of HEPA filters, similar to the way that hand sanitizer was not available for so long?
The reason is that HEPA filters are ineffective as a barrier against Covid-19 particles. Since many of the experts agree that some Covid-19 particles can be as small as 0.06 microns, a HEPA filter is simply not a good weapon to use in the fight against the spread of this terrible disease.
It is also worth pointing out that HEPA filters have an array of negative attributes, such as:
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