Air purifiers are a common household equipment nowadays. With the onset of winters in Northern States, the demand for air purifiers has increased. The fast-approaching festive season is also a reason why homeowners concerned by rising air pollution are rushing to buy air purifiers.
The air purifier is a unique product in the list of white goods available in the market. It does not promise to provide cooler air or bring down the ambient temperature, albeit it promises fresher air. While our ancestors might have scoffed at the idea, living in a metro city today is akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. The average life expectancy of people living in Delhi NCR and other major urban centres is 2 to 3 years less than people living in relatively cleaner urban and rural hinterlands. So, the promise of clean air definitely has an appeal for people who are environmentally aware and know about health issues that are caused by indoor air pollution.
Now, there are several technologies in use today for indoor air filtration. However, the most effective and widely used technology is High-efficiency Particulate Arrestance air filtration. We know that’s a mouthful so we will be using the popular acronym, HEPA, from now on. So, let’s understand how HEPA air filters work.
High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA)
The simplest form of filtration is to use a material with holes that are big enough to trap some particles and small enough to let through others. That is how a normal sieve works. An air filter is also like a sieve that traps particles in the ambient air. But how do you catch particles that are floating in the air? Well, by making a very fine filter with holes small enough to let air through but trap everything else. That’s what we call a HEPA filter. It can trap almost 99.97% of the dust particles and polluting agents in the air. But there is a catch.
The holes in a HEPA filter are so small that they will simply get clogged by larger dust particles that get pulled in by the air purifier’s fan. Therefore, for a HEPA filter to run efficiently, a pre-filter is needed. The pre-filter is a simple sieve that stops the larger dirt particles and hair from reaching the HEPA filter but allow the microscopic matter to escape.
Thence comes the HEPA filter. It has a paper-like look. The material is folded in a zig-zag fashion and looks like a concertina. However, the mat is actually a form of dense fibre glass which cleans the incoming air using three very different mechanisms.
- Particles that travelling at high speeds because they are lighter, get trapped as they smash into the fibre wall.
- Particles at travelling at moderate speeds are snagged by the fibres in the material as they rush by the fibre wall.
- Lastly, slow moving, relatively heavier dust particles wander around the filter for a time before sticking to the filter walls.
Together, these mechanisms enable the high efficiency of indoor air filtration we experience with HEPA air filters.
Fun Fact: HEPA filters were originally developed for the Manhattan Project, to capture the dangerous, radioactive dust produced by nuclear fission. Today, these filters are widely used for making indoor air filtration systems for factories and workplaces where dust is produced as an operational by-product.
Types of HEPA Filters
With adoption for commercial and home use, the HEPA technology has witnesses some further bifurcation in terms of quality and use-cases.
True HEPA: A high-quality HEPA filter that can trap 99.97% of dust particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter. For comparisons sake, a human hair is about 50 to 150 microns in diameter. So, a true HEPA filter is effectively trapping particles several hundred time smaller than the width of a human hair.
HEPA Filters in Breathing Masks: The second grade of HEPA filters is used in pollution masks and respiratory equipment. These are often graded in 9 different types and have three levels of efficiency (95, 99 and 99.97) combined with three levels of filter degradation resistance (N, R, and P). The higher the quality, the longer the mask with HEPA filtration can be worn.
Things to Look for When Buying an Air Purifier
Well, it goes without saying that an air purifier with a true HEPA filter is the one you want for your home. It is the most effective at filtering particulate matter which is the term used for extremely small air pollutants. A genuine HEPA filter can remove particles rated between 2.5 to 10 microns in diameter. These particles include the sooty pollutants from vehicular emissions, household dust, pet dander, fur and hair. Moreover, a true HEPA filter is also more hygienic and resistant to degradation and can filter certain types of microbes, including viral and bacterial elements and mould spores.
The second thing to look for in a home air purifier is the addition of activated carbon filters. These filters provide an extra layer of protection by removing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and gaseous elements like carbon monoxide from the air filtered by the HEPA filter. Activated carbon also neutralises odours, providing relief from pollutants like second-hand smoke, off-gassing from plastics, and harmful fumes produced by paints and varnishes.
Honeywell Air Purifiers for Home and Office
Now that you know what to look for in a home air filtration system, here is where you can look for it. Honeywell is one of the leading names in smart home products. Honeywell air purifiers are rated for their high-efficiency and inclusion of patented HiSivTM activated carbon filters. Moreover, our tool-free mechanism and child-safe air purifier designs ensure convenience and safety during day-to-day household use.
Now you can check the complete range of Honeywell air purifiers online at www.honeywellconnection.com or at your favourite online shopping portals like Amazon and Flipkart. Or, you can visit the nearest Chroma Store or Honeywell Air Purifier dealer for a live product demo.
Every home product requires regular maintenance to operate at full capacity. More so when you are using a product as critical as an Air Purifier, because these units are responsible for the health and well-being of your family and loved ones.
The filters in an air purifier are rated for up to 3,000 hours of operation. But that number may come down significantly when you are living in heavily polluted urban environments. For example, when using an air purifier in Delhi, you may have to replace air filters more frequently. Cities like Delhi and Gurgaon face constantly high air pollution during the winter months, which means you air purifier is working overtime to provide clean air; hence the air filters are deteriorating at a faster pace as well.
If you own an air purifier, you’ll have to think about air purifier filter replacement at one point or another. In today’s post, we will walk you through steps which can help you identify faulty filters and take action. We are also listing some steps for prolonging air filter life of your air purifier.
Do note that different air purifiers come with different mechanisms for air filter change and maintenance. Similarly, the life of the HEPA and activated carbon filters is subject to their quality.
Air Purifier HEPA Filter Replacement
The high resistance particulate air filter (HEPA) is the most advanced air filtration product in the world at the moment. It is used to filter dust particles as small as 0.03 microns. The HEPA filter offers protection from hazardous PM2.5 particles, making it a critical working part of your air purifier.
You can easily check the HEPA air filter health by opening the unit and visually inspecting it. If the filter has changed color from white to a yellowish hue or a dark grey color, then replacement is immediately needed. You should also check for any tears in the HEPA filter due to poor handling to make sure it is working at 100 percent.
Read Also: Best tips for cleaning air purifiers at home
Replacing the Activated Carbon Filter
The second most important part of your air filter setup is the activated carbon filter. It removes gaseous elements, odors and volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide from the air. Usually, the activated carbon filter should be replaced after 3,000 hours of use. Mathematically it is about 125 days, depending on ambient air quality. But again, nowadays people are using air purifiers 24 hours a day to escape bad air quality in metro cities, so the actual service life can vary. Air purifiers with filter replacement indicators can help you identify an old filter and replace it promptly.
The pre-filter used in air purifiers is meant for extending the efficiency and life of the two main filters. Check the filter every 15 days for dust and debris to ensure smooth airflow inside the unit. In case the pre-filter gets damaged, you should get a replacement promptly to protect the HEPA and activated carbon filter.
So, that concludes the part on checking the air filters for age and damage. Now to the promised tips for extending the life of air purifier filters.
- Keep the area around the air purifier clean so that the unit does not need to do unnecessary air clean-ups.
- Clean the air inlets and insides of the unit with a dry microfiber cloth to keep debris from accumula1ting inside the air purifier.
- Place the purifier in an open area for free inflow and outflow of air.
- Make sure that the air purifier is used in a closed space, otherwise, the filters may get worn much sooner.
- Use mops for cleaning floors, instead of brooms. Wet and dry mops can drastically reduce the dust and hair particles floating in ambient air.
- Also, replace good quality dusting cloths to make sure the maximum amount is trapped and removed effectively.