When it comes to ensuring clean and healthy indoor air, the quality of your filtration system matters. Also, the filter you use must perfectly match the particles you aim to remove from the air. This is because different particles — dust, debris, pathogens, bacteria, etc. — are of different sizes and levels of danger. Knowing the differences and the available types of filters to mitigate the risks can make all the difference in your healthcare facility. In this blog, we'll explore HEPA filtration and explain why micron size plays a key role in maintaining excellent indoor air quality (IAQ).
The Power of HEPA Filtration:
HEPA filters, like those we offer here at HEPACART®, are widely known for their ability to trap ultra-fine particles, preventing them from recirculating into the air we breathe. Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filtration can effectively remove up to 99.7% of airborne particulate matter down to 0.3 microns in size, including dust, allergens, bacteria, mold spores, and even smoke. HEPA filters are uniquely suited and rigorously tested to clean the air in your medical facility to the highest degree. With powerful filtration and industry-leading dependability, HEPA filters grant you, your staff, and your facility’s patients peace of mind.
Let’s Talk About Microns.
To understand the importance of micron size, it's essential to understand its scale. A micron is 1/1000 nanometers or 1/25,000 of an inch. For perspective, the diameter of a human hair is approximately 70 microns, while the average debris and dust particles visible to the naked eye are around 25 microns. While the incredibly tiny 0.3-micron particles are invisible (not to mention 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair!), they can still cause harmful effects when airborne. Because of their small size, these tiny particles can exist in huge quantities with no visual warning. When you fully understand these sizes and the impact different particles can have on your facility’s air quality, you’re better equipped to choose machines that will filter the air accordingly and protect everyone inside.
What is MPPS?
As a facility manager, you may have been tasked with determining the most effective method for air filtration and facility cleanliness in your building. While researching clean air solutions, you probably came across the term MPPS or “most penetrating particle size.” This term sounds confusing, but the particle micron size most commonly passes through a given filter without being captured. This measure is particularly important when considering the pollutants in your facility. You’ll want to look for a filter that can remove the contaminants you’re concerned about, and the MPPS is a great way to ensure that your filter of choice will do that.
It’s important to note that an MPPS of .3 microns is the most dangerous because so many heavy-hitting airborne particles are around that size. With an MPPS of .3 microns, those potentially harmful particles are not being captured and are left to cause irritation and potential infection among your facility’s occupants.
A HEPA filter can reliably capture 99.7% of particles that are .3 microns or larger. The U.S. Department of Energy HEPA regulation mandates that all HEPA filters meet this standard at a minimum. Neglecting to address these 0.3-micron particles can lead to all kinds of health conditions and compromised air quality within your facility, so it’s essential to understand the term MPPS and how to use it to keep your facility safe and healthy for all.
Why Does Micron Size Matter?
Understanding the size of the most common particle types can help facility managers gauge the importance of correctly matching the necessary filtration type for their unique medical facility. Allergens, bacteria, dust mites, smoke, and mold spores typically fall within the 0.1 to 0.9-micron range and can be captured by different air filtration systems.
Here are a few particle sizes for quick reference:
Allergens range from .1-.3 microns.
Bacteria range from .3-.9 microns.
Dust mites range from .3-.9 microns.
Smoke ranges from .3-.9 microns.
Mold spores are typically .3 microns in size.
These particles can easily be inhaled and cause respiratory irritations, making them crucial to address for the health and well-being of your building occupants. By having general knowledge of the most common airborne particles, you can better plan for the health of your patients and staff, even when construction projects are underway. As a facility manager, you must pay attention to the MPPS — the particle size most likely to cause health problems for your building inhabitants, as they can easily be inhaled and irritate breathing passages.
Protection From 0.3 Micron Particles With True HEPA Filters.
Upgrading your air filters to capture 0.3-micron particles effectively is vital for ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone in your facility. Air filtration systems employing MERV or HEPA filters offer significant benefits, including improved infection control and dust containment that has been tested for the highest level of air filtration. Either type of true HEPA filter, whether the standard H13 or the medical-grade H14 filter, is well-suited for this level of filtration. Alternatively, if you’re more familiar with the scale of MERV ratings, you’ll want to look for a MERV rating of 17-20 to ensure that you’ll remove those pesky .3 microns or smaller particles. By taking proactive measures to maintain quality indoor air, you can significantly reduce patient health risks and boost productivity for staff in your medical facility.
Learn How a Cleaner Facility Starts with HEPA Filtration.
Micron size plays an invisible yet critical role in the effectiveness of air filtration systems, especially in medical facilities where air quality and health are so important. Understanding the significance of capturing 0.3-micron particles can improve air quality, reduce health risks and enhance the overall well-being of your facility's occupants. HEPA filtration, along with many other potentially harmful micron sizes, is your greatest tool for removing these particles from the air.