A HEPA air filter is made up of tiny fibers that trap small particles in the air. The filter can be used to remove allergens, smoke, and other pollutants from the air. You may know this filter as the "golden standard" for air purification; time again you've been told it serves the best air quality you can have. But what exactly are they, and why do they work so well?
Keep reading to find out what a HEPA air filter is made out of, and how the material and design make it so powerful.
HEPA Air Filter Materials
If you run your hand over the surface of a HEPA air filter, you'll feel that the material is soft and smooth. But this material is made up of thousands of tiny individual fibers, which you may be surprised to find out is just glass. Is that all a HEPA filter is made of? Glass?
More specifically, a HEPA air filter is a special type of glass called "Fiberglass." You shouldn't expect a HEPA filter to break like glass if you drop it. This glass has been pulled and strung through a machine to create the fine webs of material that make up a HEPA air filter.
Why Use Fiberglass for Air Filters?
Fiberglass is used because it is an inorganic material, meaning it won't rot or degrade over time like other air filter materials. It doesn't have an expiration date and can be safely stored for years. So, there's no reason not to purchase HEPA filters in bulk to reduce hassle. Additionally, fiberglass is a very strong material that can typically withstand heavy-duty use. The air filter media is coated with a tackifier, which helps the glass fibers stick together and prevents them from breaking apart.
Outside of air filtration, fiberglass is a material commonly used for insulation, or for products that need to maintain their structure over long periods of time. For example, some fishing rods are also made of fiberglass.
The Power of Fiberglass
The secret to a HEPA air filter's success is its construction. The glass fibers are incredibly small, which allows them to trap even the smallest particles in the air. Keep in mind, that this is important because the smallest airborne particles are usually the most harmful and toxic.
Optimized to Catch More Particles
In addition, the fibers are arranged in a way that maximizes airflow while still trapping particles. This means that air can move through the filter more quickly, and fewer particles will escape. Every part of a HEPA filter's design has a purpose. It is a truly flawless design.
Optimized for Better Longevity
The pleats in the filter are another reason its design is flawless. A pleated air filter is folded into an accordion-like shape, which allows more air filter material to be packed into a smaller space. By making this space compact and compartmentalized, the HEPA filter has a ton of room to capture particles and is optimized for longevity. Without the pleats, the filter would capture fewer particles and wouldn't even last half as long.
A HEPA air filter can last up to 12 months before it needs to be replaced. This is much longer than the lifespan of other air filters, such as activated carbon filters, which only last a few months.
The Bottom Line
A HEPA air filter is made of glass fibers that are arranged in a way that maximizes airflow and particle capture. The air filter media is also coated with a tackifier, which helps the glass fibers stick together and prevents them from breaking apart. A HEPA air filter can last up to 12 months before it needs to be replaced. This is much longer than the lifespan of other air filters, such as activated carbon filters, which only last a few months.
Overall, the HEPA filter is the full package. It is optimized for the best longevity, filtration of the smallest particles, and a great abundance of them. With just the right combination of fiberglass and shape, a HEPA air filter is sure to give you the cleanest air quality on the market today.