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Different Types of Air Purifier Filters: What to Know

What are the different types of air purifiers? We explain. Learn what choices are available in order to pick the best air purifier for your needs.

Air Purifiers: What Are the Different Types?

There are four main types of filters found in air purifiers: HEPA, UV Light, Activated Carbon, and Electrostatic. In the following sections, we will go over each type of filter in detail so that you will have a better understanding of how each one works.

What are HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters?

These are the most commonly used type of air filters. They can be made from a wide assortment of materials including cotton, foam, or fiberglass. No matter what kind of material they are made of, you will find it folded back and forth to resemble an accordion. This unique design helps the filter capture the maximum number of particles.

HEPA filters are held to a very high standard, as they all must be able to capture a minimum of 99.97% of particles (0.3 microns or larger). To put this in perspective, the human eye is only able to see particles that are 10 microns or larger. Since HEPA filters can capture such small particles of bacteria and mold, they are able to produce air that is much safer to breathe in.

Although HEPA filters are inexpensive to replace, they will need to be replaced often. Most filters need to be swapped out every couple of months, depending on the quality of the air going through them. Keep this in mind when deciding whether this type of filter is for you.

What are UV Light filters?

It’s becoming more common to see UV lights used to filter the air in air purifiers. Usually, UV lights are used in conjunction with HEPA filters. UV lights cannot destroy airborne particles, but they are effective in killing bacteria, germs, and viruses. When these types of microorganisms pass by the UV lamp in the purifier, they instantly dissipate due to the cellular and genetic damage caused by the UV rays. UV lights are able to kill more bacteria and viruses than what a traditional HEPA filter can do on its own.

Purifiers that come equipped with UV lights are more expensive than purifiers without this technology. You also must consider the upkeep. Not only will you have to continue to replace the traditional HEPA filter regularly, but you will also have to replace the UV light when it burns out too. Luckily, UV lights typically last one to two years.

What are Activated Carbon filters?

This is another type of air filter that is used alongside HEPA filters. An activated carbon filter is designed to trap gases and odors, something a traditional HEPA filter is not equipped for. So, if you want a filter that is going to leave your house smelling fresh, then this is your best option. More expensive activated carbon filters are also able to trap organic compounds in their filtration system, which makes them the ideal option for pet owners.

A disadvantage to this option is how often a carbon filter will need to be replaced, as they typically only last for about a month. Considering that activated carbon filters are more expensive than HEPA filters, you are looking to spend a lot here. Also, if you are using both activated carbon filters and HEPA filters, your costs could skyrocket.

What are Electrostatic filters?

Purifiers that use these filters work by charging the particles in the air. Once the particles are charged, they will be attracted to and trapped inside the filter. These types of filters work best to destroy mold spores. The plates used to trap these spores can be taken off, washed, and reused. This makes them a great option for those who want to save a little money on replacement filters. However, keep in mind that these filters do take time to clean. You have to take the filter apart and clean each layer individually for a thorough cleaning.

Another downside to this option is that these types of machines do produce small amounts of ozone and similar gases. Some people will react badly to breathing in these gases, while others will never notice it. The most common reactions happen to those that suffer from asthma, as it can increase your chances of having an attack.

Which air purifier Filter is Best?

All filters have their own list of advantages and disadvantages. They vary in price, air quality control, and a variety of other factors. Once you decide what is important to you and your family, you will have a better idea of what type of filter will work best for you. We hope that the information we provided on each type of filter will help make that decision easier. For more info on air purifiers and filters, check out these interesting articles today.

Resources— AllergyandAir, Air, Molekule

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