The HEPA filter is the most popular type of air filter due to its pollutant trapping power. It’s become a must-have with today’s air purifiers, and for a good reason: Without a HEPA filter in your unit, it’s not going to be as effective at cleaning your air, plain and simple.
Let’s back up a little and look at how the HEPA filter came to be.
The History Behind the HEPA Filter
HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air” and was designed by the U.S. Department of Energy back in the 1940s. At the time, it was created to stymie the spread of contamination that was a side-effect of their nuclear tests. Today, this technology is made commercially available for business and home use.
By the standards of the Department of Energy, a HEPA filter must remove at least 99.97% of particles in the air that are 0.3 micrometers, also known as microns, in diameter. This means that out of 10,000 0.3 micron-sized particles, the HEPA filter must only allow three to get through, at the most.
To get a visual understanding of how small that is, a human hair averages 80 to 100 microns in diameter, so a HEPA filter can trap not only physical pollutants but viruses and bacteria that are invisible to the eye, as well.
Pretty impressive, right?
HEPA filters continue to work at this level for quite a while, until a replacement is either auto-sent or purchased depending on your setup. Always note that you cannot and should not wash a HEPA filter. Any washable filters are less effective as HEPA filters are the highest in industry standards.
A True HEPA Filter Versus a Medical-Grade HEPA Filter
When shopping around for air purifiers and air filters, it’s important to note that HEPA filters are available in varying levels of efficiency. The abovementioned set standard is the minimum requirement that HEPA filters must meet, but some are designed to go above and beyond. HEPA filters are graded according to their efficiency – the higher the grade, the more efficient the filter.
A true HEPA filter is graded between H10 and H12. It can trap 95% to 99.5% of particles that are 0.1 microns in diameter.
The best grades of HEPA filters are H13 and H14. This is the best-in-class standard for air filtration. An H13 HEPA filter can trap 99.95% of particles that are 0.1 microns in diameter, while an H14 HEPA filter can capture 99.995%.
These are medical-grade quality HEPA filters with denser fiber webs than true HEPA filters, so they have higher particle retention rates.
The Sans air purifier is equipped with a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter, tested to remove at least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, and 99.95% of particles that are 0.1 microns in diameter.
What this means for you is that when you have a Sans air purifier in your indoor area, you can rest assured that the air you’re breathing in is safe, clean, and pure — especially when you consider that this filter is working in conjunction with three other layers. (More on that in a moment.)
HEPA-Type or HEPA-Like
It’s important to note that while HEPA filters have varying levels of efficiency, they do not have different types. Some air filters are marketed as “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” because the fibers of the filter panel are designed like true HEPA filters. They have an increased surface area, which allows them to capture minuscule pollutants in the air. This makes them more efficient than other panel filters.
However, the percentage of airborne particles they can trap may vary between manufacturers, and they do not meet the standards defined by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Aside from the requirement stated by the Department of Energy, MERV ratings are also a good benchmark for air filtration capabilities. The acronym stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, and it’s a system that was derived from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers. It grades the ability of various filters based on the particulate sizes it can trap. The higher the grade, the smaller the particles it can filter.
The lowest grade bracket is MERV 1-4, which pertains to filters that can only address particles bigger than 10 microns such as dust, pollen, carpet fibers, and other physical pollutants. HEPA-like or HEPA-type filters are graded MERV 9-12, which means they can only filter airborne particles that are one to three microns in diameter.
The highest MERV grade bracket is MERV 13-16, but HEPA filters are generally graded MERV 17 due to their ability to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, or down to 0.1 microns, for medical-grade HEPA filters.
How Sans is Raising the Standard for Air Purification
As we mentioned earlier, Sans’ medical-grade HEPA 13 filter is just one of four layers of protection that you get when you have one of our units in your home or office.
The air purification actually starts with a pre-filter, which is responsible for larger pollutants, like hair and dust. This makes it easier for the following layers to do their jobs.
After that comes the HEPA 13 filter.
Third up, we’ve got the activated carbon filter, which tackles dangerous chemicals floating around as gases. This filter neutralizes volatile organic compounds, like formaldehyde, that can come from common items like cleaning products and furniture.
This layer also has the job of removing any odors wafting around.
Lastly, there’s the UV-C light, which affects the other layers inside the unit only. At this point, Sans has trapped mold, viruses, and bacteria, removing them from your breathing air. The UV-C light neutralizes these pathogens so that (a) they won’t come back out of the air purifier, and (b) they can’t grow on the filters.
We take a holistic approach to air purification so that you — and those around you — can stay safe and healthy.
Shop for your Sans air purifier today.
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