The global push for improved air quality has led to a rise in technologies that seek to combat airborne pollutants. At the forefront of this movement is the HEPA filter, which is an integral part of devices like our innovative personal air purifier, Respiray Wear A+.
As pioneers in wearable air purification technology, we understand the importance of providing clean air to our users whenever and wherever they need it, and the HEPA filter is fundamental to the way our device works.
In this article, we delve deeper into what makes these filters so special and why they’re so significant in the drive for clean air.
What is a hepa filter?
HEPA filter is short for high-efficiency particulate air filter. As the name suggests, these filters are designed to capture a high proportion of fine particles in the air. They must filter out at least 99.97% of these particles to be classified as HEPA, which ensures a significant reduction in airborne pollutants. The H12 HEPA filter is a primary component of Wear A+, our wearable air purifier necklace that protects users by creating a localized buffer zone of purified air for them to breathe.
The science of hepa filtration
Truly understanding how HEPA filtration works goes further than simply acknowledging its sieving capabilities. For example, we also need to consider the following aspects:
- Particle dynamics: Different-sized particles are actually captured in different ways by these filters. Larger particles are primarily trapped through inertial impaction, mid-sized ones through interception and tiny particles, influenced by Brownian motion, through diffusion. If you’re feeling a little lost at this point, don’t worry – this great article gives a simple overview of these filtration mechanisms.
- HEPA media composition: Resembling high-rag-content paper, the materials typically used for HEPA filters are microfiber glass and expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). Due to their multi-layered structure, these materials ensure that particles are captured effectively.
Do hepa filters remove viruses? What they can protect us from
When used in air filtration systems or devices, HEPA filters can rid the air of various particle types, meaning they can offer users protection from different types of harm:
- PM10 and PM2.5: These are generally considered the most harmful types of polluting particles, with the numbers referring to the sizes of the particles in micrometers. Minute particulate matter like PM2.5 poses severe risks as it can penetrate deep into our lungs, causing various respiratory ailments.
- Bacteria and viruses: Microscopic organisms can be harmful and lead to various illnesses. While HEPA filters are adept at capturing many of these pathogens, including viral particles, it’s crucial to highlight that they don’t necessarily kill them.
- Mold: If inhaled, mold spores from the air can cause or exacerbate respiratory issues and allergic reactions.
- Allergens: Pollen, pet dander and dust mites are some of the most common airborne particles that can induce allergic reactions in many individuals.
While they are great for capturing the contaminants listed above, it should be noted that HEPA filters are not designed to handle volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases.
Hepa filter lifetime: Nothing lasts forever
While incredibly efficient, HEPA filters aren’t designed to be used forever. Their functionality is influenced by where and how they are used, and they will inevitably become full eventually. All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes, and the same goes for these highly efficient filters.
How long do hepa filters last?
The longevity of a HEPA filter depends largely on its operating environment. A filter that is frequently exposed to highly polluted air will have a considerably shorter lifespan than one that is used occasionally in cleaner areas. Under typical conditions, the HEPA filter in Respiray Wear A+ has an estimated average lifetime of 200 hours. After this period, the filter should be replaced to ensure the device continues to offer optimal air purification.
What happens when the filter is full?
When a HEPA filter starts to get full, three main effects tend to occur:
- Efficiency increases: Perhaps counterintuitively, as a HEPA filter becomes more saturated with particles, its efficiency can increase. The accumulated contaminants make the filter media harder to penetrate, meaning it can potentially capture even more particles from the air.
- Resistance and noise increases: As the filter becomes more contaminated, the resistance to airflow intensifies. This can result in a noticeable increase in noise levels and a decrease in the volume of air that can pass through. Furthermore, as the filter becomes harder to penetrate, the ventilators have to work harder, which might lead to increased power consumption.
- Airflow decreases: With increased contamination, the filter’s ability to allow air to flow through it reduces. This means that while it might be capturing particles more efficiently, the volume of clean air delivered diminishes too.
disposing of hepa filters correctly
Proper disposal of a saturated HEPA filter is essential to ensuring that it is safely dealt with and does not release captured materials back into the surrounding environment – here are our tips:
- Always wear gloves during the process
- Handle the filter in a well-ventilated area
- Place the used HEPA filter in a bag and seal it securely before disposal
The need for replacement
For a device that uses HEPA filters to function at its best, periodic replacement of the filters is imperative. This ensures that their efficiency remains optimal and the quality of the air delivered is at its highest. Base your period for filter replacement on its level of usage, and always keep in mind that a fresh filter guarantees a breath of fresh air!
so there you have it…
Hopefully this article has helped you to better understand the essential aspects of what HEPA filters are and how they work. The potency of HEPA filters in ensuring air purity is undeniable – they play a pivotal role in air purifiers like Wear A+, ensuring that users can breathe more easily and healthily in our increasingly polluted environment.