With growing concerns surrounding airborne viruses and pollutants, it's only natural to question the effectiveness of your air filtration system in removing these kinds of airborne particles. After all, the air around your facility affects patients who are likely already immunocompromised and the staff working to keep the facility running smoothly daily. In any medical environment, air quality is critical to the overall health of everyone inside the facility. Still, your air filter of choice may need to provide the level of protection you think it is.
HEPA Filters Remove Viruses and Particulates.
Standard HEPA filters cannot remove harmful viruses in the air, as you may assume. There are medical-grade HEPA filters that can filter out smaller particles, but it’s important to understand the differences between these systems and the health of your facility. In this blog, we’ll dive into the key differences and the types of filters that can remove airborne particles and viruses from your facility’s indoor air.
What Is a HEPA Filter?
High-efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are a popular choice in the world of air purification due to their superior ability to trap pollutants and contaminants. These filters have been meticulously designed to capture a high percentage of airborne particles, thereby reducing exposure to harmful elements and ensuring cleaner, healthier air in your surroundings.
HEPA filters are categorized into two main types based on their filtration efficiency: standard or "True" HEPA filters and medical-grade HEPA filters. The efficiency of these filters is represented by an 'H' rating, ranging from H10 to H14.
Standard or "True" HEPA Filters
The "True" HEPA filters fall within the H10 to H12 range. As a standard variant, these filters are commonly utilized in various applications like household air purifiers, HVAC systems, cars, and even some vacuum cleaners. Despite being referred to as 'standard', these filters provide a commendable level of filtration, effectively trapping most airborne contaminants and ensuring cleaner, fresher air.
Medical-grade HEPA Filters
Medical-grade HEPA filters belong to the higher end of the spectrum, falling within the H13 to H14 range. These filters offer a significantly higher level of filtration compared to their "True" HEPA counterparts. The enhanced filtration efficiency of medical-grade HEPA filters makes them ideal for settings with stringent cleanliness requirements, such as hospitals, laboratories, and cleanrooms. For instance, an H14 filter can remove up to 99.995% of contaminants that are 0.3 microns in size, allowing for superior purification.
HEPA; H10-H12 are considered “True HEPA” and H13-H14 are considered medical-grade quality
To put this into perspective, consider a scenario with 1,000,000 particles of construction dust to filter. An H13 filter would potentially allow approximately 30 particles to pass through, whereas with an H14 filter, this number reduces dramatically to about 10 particles. Although the numerical difference between H13 and H14 might seem small, it can result in a significant reduction in contaminants, making the environment much safer, especially in medical and laboratory settings.
The remarkable efficiency of HEPA filters in capturing airborne particles has made them an essential tool in various applications, from homes and offices to healthcare facilities. Whether it's a "True" HEPA or a medical-grade filter, these technologies have been instrumental in improving air quality and protecting our health. When choosing a filter, it's important to consider the specific needs of your environment to select the most appropriate 'H' rating for your needs.
Do Medical-grade HEPA Filters Remove Airborne Particles and Viruses?
The short answer is yes. Medical-grade HEPA filters have been specifically engineered to remove viruses effectively. In addition to viruses, these filters can also capture dust, dander, and other particles responsible for allergies, thus improving overall indoor air quality in your facility.
The use of medical-grade HEPA filters has shown significant success in reducing the transmission of airborne diseases and enhancing the health and safety of occupants. However, if you chose a standard HEPA filter or H13, you would see different results for the smaller disease-carrying particles. Depending on your needs and your patient population's vulnerability level, the filtration level you need will vary.
How Does HEPA Filtration Work?
HEPA filters operate using a combination of two primary methods: impaction and interception. When particles collide with the surface of the filter and are captured, it is known as impaction. This method targets particles larger than 1 micron, which are larger than the mesh openings of the filter's screen. Interception comes into play when particles pass through the screen without being captured. These particles are then intercepted as they navigate through the fibers of the HEPA filter.
Add an Extra Layer of Protection With UV-C Light.
Some systems incorporate UV-C light technology to enhance the effectiveness of HEPA filters. UV-C light has been proven effective in killing bacteria and viruses, providing an additional disinfection layer. When combined with HEPA filtration, UV-C light can further reduce the presence of harmful microorganisms in the air, making it an appealing option for those seeking an advanced air purification solution.
The benefit is that biological contaminants can be killed, even if every single particle cannot be completely filtered out of the air. Remember that UV-C light alone will not help mitigate the risk of construction dust, but it can reduce the spread of disease in an enclosed space where vulnerable patients are present.
Are You Considering a Change or Upgrade?
If you are responsible for maintaining your medical facility's air quality, your best bet for high-quality air filtration is medical-grade HEPA filters. These filters offer significant protection against harmful viruses and bacteria, ensuring occupants a safer and healthier environment. By incorporating medical-grade HEPA filters into your air filtration strategy during construction or renovation projects, you can take proactive steps to safeguard the well-being of everyone within the facility.
Safeguard Your Indoor Environment With HEPA Filtration.
The safety and indoor air quality of your medical facility are one of the best ways that you can make strides to provide the safest possible environment for your facility’s patients and staff. Regarding the effectiveness of air filtration systems in removing harmful viruses, not all HEPA filters are created equal. Suppose your facility requires higher levels of filtration for hazardous airborne particles or highly vulnerable patient populations. In that case, the medical-grade H14-certified filtration systems will likely be your best choice to provide a safe and healthy environment.
To learn more about the difference between HEPA and ULPA filters, download our comprehensive guide, and equip your facility to make an informed decision that will safeguard your indoor environment and everyone in it.