A HEPA filter is a pleated, mechanical filter that can remove particles as small as viruses from your indoor air. If you have allergies, or if you just want the cleanest air possible for your family, you may want at least one HEPA air cleaner for your home. Here are some things to know when you shop for a HEPA air purifier.
You Can Buy A Whole-House HEPA Filter
You can buy a HEPA air purifier that fits in your HVAC duct so it filters all of the air in your home. This is a convenient option, but the blower in your HVAC needs to run for the air to be filtered.
Since all the air in your house is filtered through your HVAC, putting the HEPA filter in your ductwork can filter your entire home. If you're not running your AC or furnace, you'll need to keep the thermostat on fan mode to keep the blower working.
This type of HEPA air cleaner has to be installed by an HVAC technician, and first, the technician needs to check your ducts and equipment to make sure they can handle a HEPA filter. Older equipment may not be a suitable match, so you'll want to know that before you choose your filter.
Small HEPA Air Purifiers Clean Individual Rooms
A tabletop or floor air purifier probably won't be powerful enough to clean the air in your entire home. These work by pulling air into the filter and then blowing out purified air.
When you buy a portable air purifier, look for the square footage the unit treats. Many can treat the size of a large room, so you may need a few HEPA air purifiers to filter the air in your entire house if you don't choose the HVAC filter option.
Some Air Purifiers Add Features
HEPA filters are effective at removing very small particles from the air such as smoke, pet dander, and pollen. However, they can't remove VOCs, which may be a concern when it comes to indoor air pollution.
You can buy a HEPA air filter that is combined with another filter that traps gasses such as volatile organic compounds and odors. Buying a combination filter ensures you'll have the cleanest air possible in your home.
A HEPA Air Purifier Needs Regular Maintenance
HEPA air purifiers need regular maintenance, so you may want to understand what you need to do before you buy a particular filter model. An air purifier is often made so air passes through a non-HEPA filter first.
This filter removes large particles, such as dirt and hair. This filter can often be washed or vacuumed to keep it clean. Cleaning should be done regularly so air isn't restricted by caked-on dust and hair.
The HEPA filter itself is usually not cleaned. Instead, it is replaced when dirty or after a certain number of hours of operation. Be sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer in your owner's manual for how to clean the filters so your air purifier is effective at cleaning the air in your home.