Many of today’s air conditioning systems are equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, which efficiently trap particulates and impurities that pass through them. These filters do have their limitations, however. In this blog, air conditioning repair contractor R.A. Biel Plumbing & Heating discusses the limitations of HEPA filters.
Advantages of HEPA Filters
HEPA filters use finer filtration material than typical filters to catch smaller particulates. For comparison, common paper filters can capture particulates up to 2 microns, whereas HEPA filters can capture those as small as 0.3 microns. Instead of a single flat filter medium that works like a sieve, HEPA filters feature pleated material, which increases the filtration area.
This makes HEPA filters ideal for facilities that require the purest air possible, such as hospitals and electronics plants. In addition to inorganic dust, it can also filter out microorganisms such as bacteria, pollen and mold spores. HEPA filters are also necessary for those who work in conditions where they may come in contact with asbestos.
Limitations of HEPA Filters
The high filtration efficiency of HEPA filters make them the least suitable filter type for residential systems. This efficiency restricts airflow, which means the air conditioning system output will have to be increased to meet the usual indoor cooling requirements. Even an air conditioning system that’s sized just right would need to increase its output to meet minimum cooling requirements, which means increased energy consumption. For reversible heat pumps/air conditioners, this increases the chances of unplanned cooling and heating repair due to leaks, overheating or icing up.
Alternatives to HEPA Filters
If you need better air filtration than that offered by typical air filters, there are other options available, such as high-efficiency AC filters. At first glance, it may be confusing given that both products have “high-efficiency” in their names, but high-efficiency AC filters are designed for residential use. Studies have shown that there’s a negligible difference in the filtering capabiliies of high-efficiency AC filters and HEPA filters. Alternatively, electrostatic filters—which utilize static electricity to attract particulates—are also proven to be efficient upgrades to standard air filters.
R.A. Biel Plumbing & Heating is your leading provider of heating, air conditioning and drain and sewer repair services. Give us a call at (505) 672-7888 or (970) 884-3358 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.