The majority of Americans spend their life indoors, moving between home, school, work and vehicles. That fact, combined with the findings by the U.S. EPA that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, should make indoor air quality a high priority for schools, businesses, restaurants, and other public places.
One of the best ways to boost indoor air quality is by using a HEPA filtration system. These high-performing filters not only improve air quality for customers, employees, and other individuals but they can also help an organization pass air quality tests and earn LEED certification credits.
What is a HEPA Filter?
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are mechanical filters usually made of a pleated paper material that remove air particulates from the air. Originally commercialized in 1950, the HEPA filter moved from a trademarked product to a generic air filter that meets high government standards. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy specifies that HEPA filters must remove 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.
Typically created from a mat of fiberglass fibers, HEPA filters trap different sized air particles through diffusion, interception, and impaction. Diffusion means that particles smaller than 0.1 microns collide with gas molecules that make them more likely to be trapped. Interception refers to particles being effectively blocked by a fiberglass fiber and impaction catches larger particles that can’t navigate the contours of the filter material.
What are the Benefits of a HEPA Filter?
Here are some HEPA filter benefits that businesses, schools, construction sites, restaurants, and other organizations may discover:
- Improved health.
Since HEPA filters can remove such small particles, the result is cleaner air for your customers, employees, members or anyone else who is working in or visiting your space. This can mean improved long-term health benefits as well as short-term relief from respiratory distress symptoms.
- Acceptable air quality tests.
In some cases, government regulation may require that organizations pass air quality tests, especially in situations where a great deal of dust and debris is being generated from activities such as new construction. HEPA filtration machines can help your organization pass those tests.
- Earn LEED points.
If your organization is trying to secure or maintain LEED certification, HEPA filtration systems can help you generate needed points for this program.
What Does a HEPA Filter Do?
A HEPA filter removes a wide range of particulates from the air. It’s ideal for trapping dust, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, clothing, and carpet fibers.
Although smaller particles such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens may get trapped, HEPA filters do not kill them. As a result, some organizations may choose to operate other air purification systems that employ ultraviolet light to improve air quality even further.
Other technologies that can work in tandem with HEPA filtration systems include carbon-based filtration systems that can tackle smoke and odors and ion-based technology that can help particles become heavier and easier to remove.