HEPA filters often come with a hefty price tag.
But, since we live in a world full of all kinds of air pollutants, investing in a high-grade HEPA filtration system is a smart choice. In fact, it is an effective way to improve the quality of the air we breathe, and at the same time, protect our health.
Morconnect explains that HEPA (filter) stands for “high-efficiency particulate air”. They are mechanical filters that remove about 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of at least 0.3 microns. Filters with the HEPA standard must meet certain levels of efficiency. In the U.S., the filter must remove at least 99.97% of particulate matter from the air. Meanwhile, in Europe, it is a bit lower at 99.95%.
Are HEPA Filters Expensive?
HEPA filtration systems are quite expensive and can cost you up to a few thousand dollars. So, it is important to understand that even the best HEPA device also has its own fair share of limitations.
First, HEPA filters only help to clean the air itself. It means that they cannot remove particles that are not suspended in the air. You can also forget about the dust and other allergens trapped in your sheets, carpets, and rugs. One way to solve this issue is to reintroduce the particles into the air by means of sweeping or dusting.
It is comforting to know that you have a HEPA system at home. But, you must also be aware that it only works best on closed and small living spaces. So, if you are planning to install an air filter in a bigger room, bear in mind that its efficiency may become lower. Places with good ventilation can also affect the efficiency of your device. In general, HEPA filters are not needed in rooms that have good air circulation.
Also, maintaining a HEPA filtration system at home can be costly. They tend to consume a lot of power which can result in high energy costs. Routine maintenance such as filter replacement can also prove to be expensive. Such devices are also bulky and space-consuming so they are difficult to hide. So, if you are planning to buy one, make sure that it will blend well into your home’s interior. Else, it will be a big eye-sore.
It is also important to take note that HEPA systems only remove particulate matter from the air. They cannot guarantee the removal of harmful substances like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
According to Epa.gov, VOCs are compounds that have a high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many types of VOCs are man-made. They are present in paints, pharmaceutical products, and refrigerants. VOCs are also responsible for causing short-term and long-term adverse health effects. Some of them can even cause cancer.
A HEPA filtration device can also get infested by molds. Mold spores are large enough to get caught in the filter. But, other trapped particles can also give the necessary nutrients for them to thrive. The problem gets even worse for filters that are not well-maintained. As the new colony of molds grows and matures, they release new spores and continue to contaminate the air.
Meanwhile, the same thing also happens with bacteria. Bacteria are large enough for a HEPA filter to capture. But, as they die, they release harmful endotoxins into the air. Studies found out that asthmatics are particularly sensitive to inhaled endotoxins. They can induce both immediate and sustained airflow obstruction.
In conclusion, HEPA systems can capture air contaminants like dust and dander. They can even remove some harmful viruses and bacteria from the air. But, they have lower efficiency in capturing airborne particles less than 0.3 microns.
The use of HEPA filtration devices is not the complete solution to address all indoor air pollutants. It is still recommended to keep your living spaces as clean as possible. Routine maintenance of your HVAC system at home is also advised.