Filters have one job and that is to cleanse the air inside a confined space. Now air carries with it dust mites, pollen, dust and even dead skin flakes! Although not visible to the naked eye, they can cause irritation or in extreme cases asthma in particularly sensitive individuals. Thus, the use of filters with air conditioners, heaters, vacuum cleaners and more is to reduce the particulate content of air. Now there are various kinds of filters with HEPA having the highest filtration rates, but the suitability of such filters depends on where one aims at using them.
It is an acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter and is tested to filter nearly 99.97 percent of all particulates greater than 0.3 microns in size. Such a filter usually has multiple layers of fibers interwoven in a pattern that traps particulates as air passes through.
A high-efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA filter, traps 99.97 per cent of pollen, dust, and other particulates down to 0.3 microns. A HEPA filter consists of interwoven fibres that trap the particulates before they pass completely through the random fibre arrangement.
HEPA filters are not the only kind of high standard filters. There are products or replacement components that just need to remove particles of a certain size from air. These are filters with a MERV or minimum efficiency reporting value. They can be as sensitive as HEPA at 0.3-micron filtration or go all the way up to 10 microns. Most home based filters are capable of filter 1 to 8 micron sized particulates. Here are some commonly used Regular filters.
- HEPA-like – Not HEPA but advertised as being close to HEPA standards, they tend to have higher than usual filtration rates. Usually such filters can trap anything from 0.9 to 0.16-micron range thus effective against smoke, dust, contaminants and bacteria. They are equally adept at trapping pet dander, mold spores, pollen and more. However, a major setback of such high quality filters including HEPA filters is that due to the interweaving of fibers for greater filtration, air flow is greatly reduced or hampered. If your device was not built to operate with such high filtration rates and lower airflow, then you can easily damage the product as the motor will not draw sufficient air to cool.
- Carbon Base – HEPA filters do well in filtering particulates but do nothing about the smell or different gases. This is where carbon filters come into play. They have an activated carbon cartridge inside that interacts with any chemicals in the air and adsorbs them int. Thus smells of cigarette smoke, pets, oil and gas are all removed. Unfortunately, such filters are specifically designed for each model so replacing them with some other brand or make is usually not possible.
- Cabin Air Filter – Your car’s air conditioner too has a filter and it is very different from the one beneath the bonnet. Usually located inside the dash or behind the glove compartment, this filter distills the air removing particles and odor from the inside. Manufacturers will recommend specific kind of filters usually made from pleated paper, cotton fiber, paper and some other combination.
Buying Filters Online
It is always best to stick with the filters recommended by your manufacturer. Changing from a regular filter to a HEPA filter will affect airflow and unless you tweak your motor or engine to operate under the new conditions, it can have an adverse effect on the overall durability. Nevertheless, if you wish to change filters and go online, you will find lots of listings. Filter products based on your model and make to find all possible alternatives and browse through each reading customer reviews. Remember that just because it worked for someone else does not mean it will work for you too.