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What is a HEPA Filter, and Do I Need One?

air filtration graphic

Sometimes when we hear the words “air pollution,” we tend to think about smog or other outdoor pollutants, but the truth is dust, dirt, and other harmful contaminants can make their way into your home every day. One of the best ways to prevent pollution from circulating in the air in your home is purchasing a quality air filter and replacing it regularly.

What is a HEPA Filter?

HEPA stands for "high-efficiency particulate air". HEPA filters are used in medical facilities, vehicles, and homes, and they work by filtering forced air through a fine mesh. The filter helps trap harmful pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and tobacco smoke before they circulate throughout the area. In order to qualify as a HEPA filter under U.S. government standards, filters are required to remove 99.97% of particles from the air that passes through.

Learn more about HEPA filters from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Do I Need a HEPA Filter?

For many, a standard air filter offers enough filtration to improve the indoor air quality of the home without needing anything more. However, those who suffer from severe allergies or asthma may benefit from a stronger filter. Households with individuals who may have trouble breathing can benefit from an air purifier device that uses a HEPA filter.

Though HEPA filters are great for removing nearly all toxic microorganisms from the air, most home comfort systems are not made for the standard in-duct HEPA filter. HEPA filters require powerful air volume to overcome the air restrictions from the thick filters. That being said, there are a variety of indoor air quality upgrade options for homeowners that want to provide cleaner and healthier air in their homes, including stand-alone air purifying units.

What is the Lifespan of a HEPA Filter?

The lifespan of a replaceable HEPA filter varies depending on its usage and environment but typically ranges between 12 to 18 months. A whole house HEPA filter typically lasts between 2 to 5 years before needing replacement.

For environments with high levels of pollutants, or in cases where the filter is in continuous operation, it may need replacing more frequently. It's essential to monitor the filter's performance and adhere to the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure optimal air quality.

Why Changing Your Air Filters is Important

No matter what type of air filter you decide to get for your home, it is important that you replace or clean your filter regularly to ensure that it is filtering your air properly and not preventing your home’s comfort system from running optimally. When your air filter is dirty or clogged, it can cause your system to work harder than it needs to in order to heat and cool your home. This causes wear and tear to your system and can send your energy bills through the roof.

If you have any questions about your air filter options or which choice is right for you, give us a call at (503) 694-3396. Your A-TEMP team is here to provide options for keeping you comfortable in your own home.