What Exactly Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

If you’ve ever purchased a new vacuum, you’ve probably encountered the term “HEPA filter.” But did you know you can also have HEPA filters installed for your heating and cooling systems? These filters improve the health and quality of your indoor air. This is important for every member of the family, but it’s especially critical for individuals with respiratory concerns, such as asthma and allergies.

What are HEPA filters?

“HEPA” stands for high-efficiency particulate air. HEPA filters were first designed during the 1940s for the purpose of protecting nuclear facility workers from the dangers of radiated airborne
particles. Because of this, HEPA filters are very effective at removing airborne contaminants. Today, you can find HEPA filters in everything from vacuums to portable air purifiers to central air conditioning units to whole-house air filtration systems. In order to be classified as a HEPA filter, a filter must be able to remove at least 99% of airborne particulates that are at least 0.3 microns large. For perspective, the average strand of human hair is about 50 to 150 microns in diameter.

How do HEPA filters work?

Any type of filter works much like a sieve. It consists of a fine mesh that allows very small air particles to filter through the mesh, while trapping larger particles and preventing them from re- entering the airflow. HEPA filters are more complex than the average filter. A HEPA filter is actually made up of multiple filters. The outer filters trap the larger particles of dirt, dust, and fur. Within the outer filters, there are folds of what looks like paper, but is actually dense glass fibers. These mats trap smaller particulates.

If you have concerns about your indoor air quality, you can connect with an experienced technician at B & J Refrigeration Inc. – Heating and Cooling. Our heating and cooling company serves residents and commercial business owners in Tucson and beyond with high-quality products and services designed to enhance comfort and improve health. Get in touch today at (520) 355-4857.