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Air Purifiers

May 23, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

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Air purifiers capture matter and particles by sucking air in through a mechanical filter. Three types of filters that are used predominately (and sometimes in unison) are:

  1. Flat filters
  2. Pleated filters
  3. HEPA filters

Flat Filters

These filters have the lowest efficiency of the three types. Flat filters, also called panel filters, are a single panel of dense material which traps larger sized particulates (it is not very efficient at trapping small size particles). Flat filters can be made of wood filler, animal hair, synthetic materials, or aluminum slivers. Sometimes this fibrous material is dry; sometimes it is coated with an oily substance to help the filter trap a higher number of particles.  It is typical to see flat filters in home furnaces.

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters far exceed the capabilities of flat filters for a few basic reasons:

  • Smaller fibers are used to create the filter.
    • The material has a higher density and is more efficient at capturing particles.
  • Pleating was added.
    • Airflow remains high and the filters clog less due to the increased  surface area as a result of the pleating.
Among the dry filters, pleated filters offer some of the highest efficiency.

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters

The most efficient among all the filters, the dry-type HEPA filter is proven to block 97.97% of all particles of 0.3 micron diameter or greater. If you want a high efficiency filter, stay away from filters that claim to be HEPA-like or HEPA-type.  These imposters have limited effectiveness (sometimes capturing as little as 55% of particulates) and they do not compare to the power of HEPA filters.

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