When Should I Replace My HEPA Filter?
There are so many air filters on the market we understand how hard it is to choose. They type of air filter you choose can be based on a variety of factors. Over the course of the last year, we’ve heard many Santa Rosa homeowners ask about medical grade HEPA filters. We’re here to answer some of those questions, specifically when you should replace your HEPA filter.
What Are HEPA Filters?
The short story is that HEPA filters are medical grade air filters, the highest quality you can get. The long story is that HEPA stands for HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter and these air filters can trap 99.97% of airborne particles.
HEPA filters were originally designed as part of the Manhattan Project. They were engineered to remove radioactive particles from the air. After WWII files were declassified, scientists found HEPA filters could also remove things like dirt, dander, and viral molecules from the air as well. Since then, HEPA is the choice filter for hospitals and care facilities around the world.
What are HEPA Filters Made From?
HEPA filters are made of tightly wound fiberglass strands. These strands are woven so they form a maze so complex even the smallest of particles can’t find their way through. Here are the 4 ways HEPA filters trap different types of particles:
- Direct Impaction – This is when larger particles, like animal dander, dust, and pollen, run headfirst into a HEPA filter. They’re so big they get caught in the first row of fiberglass strands.
- Sieving – This is similar to straining pasta. As air flows through the filter, the tightly wound fiberglass stops medium size molecules get through.
- Interception – If a molecule or particle thinks it can make by sidestepping the fiberglass, It’s wrong. Instead, the molecule gets hooked on the side of a fiber.
- Diffusion – The smallest particles don’t travel in a straight line. They split erratically and are eventually caught in the smallest, tightest strands in the HEPA filter.
When Should I Replace a HEPA Filter?
At Moore Home Services, we recommend changing your home’s air filter twice per year. Once in the spring before AC season and once in the fall before furnace season. This is based on a standard filter with standard use—even HEPA filters. Some HEPA filters are so thick and so strong they can last a whole year, but that is not the norm. If you’re a member of our Moore Rewards program, a tech will come to your house twice a year for a full complimentary tune-up and filter change.
The frequency with which you change your air filter also depends on the type of filter you buy. The green, very loose fiberglass filters are so small you need to change them once every six weeks. You may also want to change your air filter more often if someone in your home suffers from extreme allergies.
Signs it’s Time to Change Your Air Filter
There are environmental factors that could also force you to change your air filter more often. For example, last year’s wildfires. The smoke from those fires smells bad but can also be dangerous to your family. Here are some other signs to look for if you think your air filter needs to be changed:
- You can see an accumulation of dirt and dust around your air vents.
- There’s an unexplained spike in utility bills.
- Your allergies worsen out of nowhere.
- The filter itself has visible damage.
Curious About Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality
The HVAC experts at Moore Home Services understand what it takes to maintain a home’s indoor air quality. We are a Diamond Certified company proudly serving our Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and North Bay communities. To meet your HVAC expert, call the number at the top of the screen or click here to request an appointment online.