Dan Carr

By: Dan Carr on January 14th, 2022

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What is a HEPA Filter?

Did you know that poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can lead to negative health effects for the people in your building?

IAQ is the measure of the amount of air pollutants inside and around the outside of your facility.

Adding air filtration systems to your cleaning and maintenance program can reduce the level of pollutants in your facility and enhance the air quality that your building occupants experience.

While there are different types of filters, many of them are not as efficient as HEPA filters.

High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtration technology, or HEPA technology, is highly effective at keeping the air in your facility clean.

HEPA filters can be used in multiple ways to create a healthy air environment in your building.

In this article and video, we’ll review how HEPA filters can be used to keep the air in your building as clean as possible.

What is a HEPA Filter?

HEPA filters are pleated mechanical air filters that have layers made of small, sticky fiberglass fibers that are interwoven.

They are able to remove 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other airborne particles that are larger than 0.3 microns.

It’s important to note that there are two types of HEPA filters that differ in how effective they are at removing particles from the air. The two types of HEPA filters are true HEPA filters and HEPA-like filters. HEPA Filter

Filters must meet a specific set of requirements in order to be considered a true HEPA filter.

What is a True HEPA Filter?

True HEPA filters have been tested and proven to trap 99.97% of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns.

Filters that are certified as True HEPA filters are able to achieve high efficiency by using a seal that creates a secure flow of air through the filter material.

Without a proper seal, the efficacy of a HEPA filter drops below the standard 99.97%.

What is a HEPA-Type Filter?

HEPA-type filters are filters made of the same materials as true HEPA filters, but they only capture 99.84% or less of particles as small as 0.3 microns. 

Many HEPA-type filters don’t have a strong seal, so not all of the air passes through the filter.

This means that true HEPA filters are more efficient at trapping contaminants than HEPA-type filters.

How does a HEPA Filter Work?

The fibers of the HEPA filter are arranged in a pattern that traps particles and keeps them from traveling back into the air. As air is forced through the filter, the particles are trapped in 3 different ways:

  1. Large particles collide directly with fibers and stick to them.
  2. Smaller particles get caught in fibers because they move slower than the air.
  3. Fine particles that move randomly, hitting and sticking to fibers as they pass through the filter.

HEPA filters can be combined with other filtration technology to enhance the way particles are removed from the air. For example, when used with an activated carbon filter, smoke, odors, and gases can also be removed and trapped. 

Where Are HEPA Filters Used?

HEPA filters can be used in janitorial floor cleaning equipment to trap and remove contaminants that are present in the air or to clean the air in your facility.

Commercial air purifiers can also use HEPA technology to efficiently remove particles from the air.

In facilities, like hospitals and schools, including HEPA filters in your cleaning and maintenance program is an important way to safeguard the health of vulnerable occupants and avoid closures and absences. 

Commercial Vacuums with HEPA Filters

When used in commercial floor cleaning equipment, like vacuums, HEPA filters nearly eliminate the chance of dirt, dust, and other air contaminants being dispersed back into the air.CERTO Dual Motor HEPA Upright Vacuum Cleanign Path

In equipment that isn’t equipped with a HEPA filter, particles may sometimes be released back into the air.

For example, commercial vacuums remove dirt, dust, dander, and other additional soils that can contribute to poor IAQ in your facility. As air is recirculated from the vacuum, some of the contaminants that were removed can also be returned into the air if they don’t have a HEPA filter.

On the other hand, by using a HEPA filter on your commercial vacuum, most of the contaminants that would normally re-enter the air will be caught and contained.

In order to fully filter the air as it passes through the filter, there should be a tight seal. Without a tight seal, there is the possibility that air can slip past the exhaust filter or filter bag. If that happens, particles are not filtered out and will be directly returned into the air.

Commercial Air Purifiers with HEPA Technology

998451265 - Fellows AeraMaxAir purification systems clean the air in your building by forcing it through a filter and removing any allergens or pollutants that could cause illness or discomfort to the people in your building.

By using a commercial air filtration system that is equipped with a HEPA filter, most of the dirt, dust, mold, and bacteria are filtered out of the air and trapped in the filter. This helps to lower the level of contamination in the air.

There should be a tight and secure seal that helps to make sure that particles are properly being filtered out of the air as they pass through the filter.


Final Thoughts

Using HEPA filters in your facility can effectively lower the presence of contaminants in the air.

Depending on how you use them, HEPA filters can either filter out particles or stop them from re-entering the air.

If you’re interested in adding HEPA filtration to your facility’s cleaning and maintenance program, EBP and other Imperial Dade locations have a wide range of HEPA-compatible commercial cleaning equipment and air purification solutions.

Whether you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, contact an EBP Specialist today for more information on the benefits of adding HEPA filtration to your clean air initiative.

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About Dan Carr

Dan Carr is the Equipment Program Manager for EBP Supply Solutions and a Trainer for the EBP Training Academy, which offers CMI-certified and other training courses for supervisory and front-line cleaning professionals throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He holds the ISSA CMI Basic certification and has over 35 years of experience in the janitorial and sanitation industry.