What is the Difference Between a HEPA Filter and a Regular Filter?

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air (filter or filtration). A true HEPA product is an air filter that can trap tiny particles with 99.97 percent efficiency, which is enough to remove most of the particles from the air. It's important to note that a HEPA vacuum is designed for HEPA performance and can be a bagless or bagless model. Standard vacuums generally filter outgoing air through the vacuum bag, while a HEPA-type filter is actually a lower version of True HEPA.

Unfortunately, because of the trademark, a HEPA-type filter can be sold under the guise of misleading consumers into believing that the HEPA type is close to or as effective as True HEPA. As mentioned above, HEPA filters remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size. The main differences between the HEPA filter and the True HEPA filter are the filtration efficiency. In general, the HEPA-type filter has an efficiency rate of 99% for capturing particles as small as 2 microns, while True HEPA filters the game with a better efficiency rate of 99.97% on particles as small as 0.3 microns. As both filters are widely used in the air purifier industry, the HEPA-type filter is often combined with the compact and more economical air purifier, while True HEPA filters are labeled with the largest premium air purifier. It's also important to understand that simply using a HEPA-type bag or adding a HEPA filter to a standard vacuum doesn't mean you'll get true HEPA performance.

A vacuum with this removal efficiency is a HEPA filter, but just because a vacuum filter or bag says HEPA doesn't mean you're getting true HEPA performance. In this two-stage process, the particulate air has a source of electrical energy that charges the particles passing through the filter. True HEPA filters have an assigned serial number and have been shown to trap at least 99.97 percent of 0.3 micron particles. This means clear test information available, independent verification or certification documentation, and HEPA labeling on the product. Can effectively remove dust, pet dander, pollen, bacteria, viruses and other airborne contaminants with a durable, waterproof True HEPA filter. In commercial environments where HEPA vacuums are required, such as construction or restoration sites, the use of standard vacuums with HEPA filters or bags can constitute a violation of EPA regulations and can result in a substantial fine.

As defined by the DOE, HEPA filters can capture up to 99.97% of particles in air with a size of 0.3 microns (µm), also known as the most penetrating particle size (MPPS).HEPA is a type of filter that can trap a large amount of very small particles that other vacuums would simply recirculate to the air in your home. With regard to air quality, facility managers, homeowners, and government officials need to understand the efficiency of an air filter to ensure that you adequately address your mitigation needs for. True HEPA filters cannot be used in conventional forced air heating and cooling systems without major equipment modifications. And, in the end, owners must trust that manufacturers have tested these filters and confirmed that they comply with the DOE standard. The only difference between the two is the fact that absolute HEPA filters claim to remove more than 99.97% (but less than 100%) of particles that are 0.3 microns in size. HEPA filters can be used in any environment, including industrial, commercial, healthcare, and consumer.

Higher efficiency standard air filters can still greatly improve indoor air quality while protecting your HVAC equipment.

Glenda Domio
Glenda Domio

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