Air Purifier Filter
Air purifiers pull air from their surroundings, remove contaminants and pollutants, and release freshly purified air in order to improve air quality. To achieve this task, a number of different methods are used, but one of the most efficient and effective measures is with the use of a filter.
Air purifier filters are specially designed to allow a high volume of air to pass through easily while stopping airborne particulates. There are a few designations that indicate how effective an air purifier filter is at trapping solids. The HEPA filter standard, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filter standard, requires that at least 99.97% percent of airborne particles 0.3 microns across be trapped in a single pass through the filter. ULPA filters, or Ultra Low Particulate Air filters, must meet even more rigorous standards of filtration. ULPA filters must remove 99.999% of airborne 0.3-micron particulate matter.
The particles that end up trapped in the filter include dust mites, allergens, bacteria, viruses, soot, and other things that are best kept out of our lungs. An air purifier filter that is HEPA-rated can take air that is dangerous to breathe (because it has so many particles) and make it so clean that it rates at the top of the Air Quality Index. ULPA filters do an even better job.
HEPA and ULPA filters are excellent when it comes to removing solid particulate matter from the air, but they fall short when it comes to gaseous and liquid contaminants. Volatile organic compounds like acetone and benzene are often used as solvents in household products. When they evaporate into the air, they can become hazardous.
Air purifiers with carbon filters use a method of air filtering that can capture non-solid pollutants. Activated carbon has an enormous surface area, which causes gaseous pollutants to adhere to the surface. Since the pollutants only stick to the surface of the carbon versus becoming infused within the body of the activated carbon pellets, the process is known as adsorption.
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HEPA filters must comply with rigorous standards in order to qualify as HEPA filters. The standards stipulate the minimum amount of solid particulate matter like soot, dust, pollen, and bacteria that the filter removes. HEPA filters are required to eliminate 99.97% of airborne particulate matter 0.3 microns in diameter, and they must meet efficiency standards as well. MERV filters don’t remove nearly as many contaminants, so while a MERV filter may be cheaper to purchase, it may not remove as many particles per dollar spent.1
HEPA filters must meet at least one of two standards. In the United States, HEPA filters must remove 99.97% of airborne particulate matter that is 0.3 microns in diameter. In the European Union, a HEPA filter only has to remove 99.95% of the 0.3-micron particulate matter.
The lifetime of a replaceable air purifier filter depends on usage time and the type of filter. Check manufacturer recommendations and look carefully at what the manufacturer considers to be typical usage. For example, if the manufacturer recommends replacing a filter every year based on round-the-clock usage, that should be compared to actual usage. If the air purifier is only on for four hours a day, the filter could last much longer before needing to be replaced.
Activated carbon is activated by heating a carbon rich material in a low oxygen environment. After adsorbing pollutants, activated carbon can be recharged or reactivated by a similar process as the original activation. However, this can release all the toxins and pollutants in a short period of time. Facilities that perform activated carbon recharging either have specific equipment to capture or otherwise contend with the outgassed chemicals. You should not attempt to recharge activated carbon at home.
Air purifiers can cool the occupants of the room by moving air across bare skin like a fan, but the electricity of the air purifier actually will very slightly heat the room. The amount that the room is warmed by the air purifier is likely to be negligible, as the fans in the purifier are not designed to produce heat and heat is simply a byproduct.
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Get cleanroom quality clean air at home with the SoClean 3-Stage Air Purifier+. The SoClean 3-Stage Air purifier captures 99.99999% of airborne viruses and bacteria. The SoClean 3-Stage Air Purifier greatly outperforms HEPA standards in a portable package that can be easily moved from place to place.
Master Air Purifier Sources:
Air quality sources: Air purification/filtration process sources: HEPA, UPLA, and MERV filter sources:
Air quality sources:https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.5b01236
Air purification/filtration process sources:https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/air-purifiers/buying-guide/index.htm
HEPA, UPLA, and MERV filter sources:https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16517004/