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Where to Buy a HEPA Air Purifier?

It may be frightening, but it’s true — the US Environmental Protection Agency has found that the air inside the average American home is two to five times more polluted than the air outside. In some households, including those with mold problems, the situation is far worse.

Are you committed to improving the air quality inside your home? You may suffer from seasonal allergies or have a chronic respiratory condition. You may have young children to protect, or you may live with pets. Perhaps you have recently discovered that you have mold on your property, or perhaps you simply want to improve the overall health and wellbeing of everyone who enters your residence. Air purifiers can benefit everyone, and by now, you will have heard that those with HEPA filters offer the best possible results.

What do you need to know before you buy a HEPA air purifier, though, and where should you shop for your new air purifying system? This in-depth look will help you avoid common mistakes as you decide what air purifier to bring into your home.

What Sets HEPA Filters Apart?

While you will certainly have heard that HEPA filters are the most effective filters on the market, you may not be entirely sure what makes these pleated mechanical filters different from all the other options.

HEPA — or “High Efficiency Particulate Air” — filters have to be able to trap 99.79 percent of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns to earn this designation in the US. This most penetrating of particle sizes has proven to be tricky to filter out, and other types of filters are simply less efficient at performing this job. HEPA filters are able to filter both larger and smaller particles even more effectively, including those originating from household dust, pollen, bacteria, and harmful molds. In short, HEPA filters are the gold standard anyone hoping to purify the air in their home should aim for.

First developed by scientists from the Manhattan Project to safeguard the workers who helped to create the atomic bomb, these heavy-duty filters gained popularity in other industries over time, as well as becoming increasingly widely used in households. A standard was set in 1983 to ensure that every HEPA filter on the market meets strict requirements, as defined by the US Department of Energy.

Today, HEPA filters are incorporated in a wide variety of products used in heavy industry and health care settings, as well as in homes across the United States. Your vacuum cleaner is quite likely to have a HEPA filter, for instance, along with your HVAC unit and the cabin air filter in your vehicle. All of the best air purifying systems rely on HEPA filters, too.

So, how do HEPA filters work? Although HEPA filters were first invented decades ago, their design has evolved over the years. The HEPA filter in an air purifying system you might buy uses a complex “net” made of glass fibers to catch harmful particles of various sizes, by using multiple different mechanisms:

  • The largest particles, with a diameter of one micron or upward, simply collide with the HEPA filter’s fibers and get trapped there. This first stage of the filtration process is also referred to as “straining”.
  • Smaller particles — with a size of 0.3 to one micron — are instead caught between two of the filter’s many interwoven strands. Unable to pass through, many will again get stuck shortly after entering the filter. The smaller particles may manage to sneak through one of the HEPA filter’s strands, but the filter’s design makes it impossible for them to get very far. They’ll eventually land on a fiber in a process called interception.
  • The very smallest particles, including so-called nanoparticles, move around more energetically. Thanks to the HEPA filter’s intricate design, they will still get tangled up in the net — and this final process of “diffusion” ensures that these tiny particles are removed from the air you breathe.

How Do Air Purifiers with HEPA Filters Work?

Air purifiers possess a powerful set of fans that draw the air in your home or workplace into the HEPA filter. Once processed, the now vastly cleaner air is circulated back into the space. As air purifying systems constantly eliminate newly introduced particles from a room, the overall result is a consistently much higher air quality.

What Do You Need to Know About the Different Types of HEPA Filters?

Whether you or someone in your family suffers from severe allergies or other respiratory conditions such as asthma, or you are simply committed to improving the indoor air quality a home that may have a mold problem, shopping around for air purifying systems with HEPA filters can prove to be a little challenging. As you research your options, you will inevitably encounter a few different terms. What do you need to know about them?

  • “True” HEPA Filters. When a manufacturer advertises their HEPA filter as “true HEPA”, this simply means that the filter adheres to the standard set by the United States Department of Energy. These filters are able to capture 99.97 percent of 0.3 micron particles. HEPA filters that meet European standards, in contrast, have a slightly lower bar, as they must filter out 99.95 percent of these particles.
  • Filters that use similar designs without meeting established standards may be advertised as being “HEPA-type filters”. Other clever marketing terms that still point to a filter’s lack of certification include “Ultra HEPA”. Such HEPA-like filters may still effectively improve your indoor air quality, making them an option for people looking for inexpensive solutions, but they are ultimately inferior.
  • HEPA/UV-C filters combine HEPA standards with ultraviolet light to eliminate even more harmful pathogens from the air you breathe. UV-C filters are particularly effective against mold spores.
  • HEPA filters with added active carbon filters integrate two effective technological innovations. While HEPA filters are able to catch the vast majority of harmful particles, they do not trap gases — such as Volatile Organic Compounds. Carbon filters do, so in purchasing an air purifier that has both a HEPA filter and a carbon filter, you ensure the cleanest possible air within your home.

Why Should You Consider Buying a True HEPA Air Purifier for Your Home?

Home is probably where you feel safest and most comfortable — but if you were to have your air quality tested, you could be shocked. Over time, the pollutants that enter your home could cause significant health complications that may result in symptoms like sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, skin irritation, and even breathing difficulties. The people who spend most time at home are also often most vulnerable; risk groups like elderly people, young children, and people with compromised immune systems fall victim to the effects of poor air quality more easily.

Some of the biggest sources of indoor air pollution stem from within your own home:

  • Common household products like cleaning supplies, solvents, furniture, and carpets emit harmful Volatile Organic Compounds that can lead to serious health complications over time. While a true HEPA air purifier will not fight VOCs, the carbon filters many air purifiers also contain do.
  • Household dust is inevitable, although its precise nature will depend on the circumstances within your home. Pet dander is particularly likely to build up quickly. A true HEPA air purifier will filter out much of this dust, while your vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter can take care of most of the remainder.
  • If anyone in your home is a smoker, tobacco smoke poses one of the biggest threats to indoor air quality.
  • Mold spores pose a significant threat to indoor air quality, and over a thousand different types of mold spores can be found in American homes. Not all types of mold that may be present on your property pose a risk to human health, but many do. Toxic, allergenic, and pathogenic molds all have the potential to cause serious health complications, especially following long-term exposure. Installing a true HEPA air purifying system in your home will immediately bring down the concentration of mold spores in the air you breathe.

Pollutants and other irritants also come into your home from outdoors, whether from heavy traffic or industry, or in the form of grass and tree pollen. Bacteria and viruses pose another significant threat. By investing in a true HEPA air purifier, you help keep infections at bay, too.

Where to Buy a HEPA Air Purifier?

Many of the true HEPA air purifiers with the best reviews are produced by Honeywell, GermGuardian, Holmes, Winix, and Dyson, although numerous other companies make excellent true HEPA air purifiers as well. The exact brand and model of true HEPA air purifier that will ultimately be best for your household depends on the size of the room you are intending to use it in, your budget, and any medical conditions anyone in your home may suffer from.

For your convenience, here is a look at some examples of popular true HEPA air purifiers as well as their pros and cons:

  • GermGuardian AC4825E 4-in-1 Air Purifier for Home with True HEPA Filter. This lightweight air purifier covers areas of up to 67 square feet, making it suitable for smaller space. A tower that stands 22 inches tall, this air purifying system is quite portable and operates quietly. At around $85, this model is an affordable choice for many.
  • Honeywell True HEPA 50250-S. This aesthetically pleasing round model covers areas of up to 390 square feet, and thanks to its added carbon filter, you will be combating VOCs and their associated odors as well. This model costs around $176.
  • Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Purifier & Fan TP02. This tower features a unique design that, coupled with the fact that it acts as a cooling fan as well as purifying the air in larger areas, is rather appealing all on its own. There’s more, though — this air purifying system is wifi-linked and able to send reports about the air quality in your home straight to your smart phone. The fact that this air purifier is endorsed by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America inspires confidence if you live with a respiratory condition. However, the price tag matches its capabilities, as you will have to part with $400 to bring this impressive system home.
  • Winix 5500-2 PlasmaWave Air Purifier With True HEPA. This rectangular tower with a carbon filter as well as a true HEPA filter can effectively deal with odors as well as particles, and is designed to cover areas of up to 360 square feet. It will set you back around $250.

Whether your allergy symptoms just kicked in or your home has suddenly developed a musty odor, you have options if you are desperate to get a true HEPA air purifier up and running within your home as soon as possible. While we would not recommend a specific air purifier — the best option for you depends on your circumstances, after all — the following retailers can help you get your hands on a high-quality HEPA air purifier in no time:

  • Amazon. Not only can you easily choose an air purifier from the comfort of your own home, Amazon’s rating and review system also allows you to easily see what people who have already purchased a model you are considering think of their air purifiers. Amazon carries all of the most popular brands.
  • Walmart. This retailer carries Honeywell, GermGuardian, and Holmes HEPA air purifiers. While you can buy your new air purifier from Walmart online, your local store is also highly likely to offer solid options.
  • Home Depot. HEPA air purifiers made by reputable brands like Honeywell and Winix are sold at Home Depot, but consumers additionally have the option of renting a heavy-duty system that contains both a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. This is a wonderful choice for households who are in the process of remediating a mold problem.
  • Target offers a wide selection of true HEPA air purifiers from companies such as Honeywell and Pure Enrichment. Your local store is likely to carry a few models, but Target’s website offers more options.

Can You Remediate a Mold Problem by Installing an Air Purifier?

HEPA filters effectively trap mold spores that were circulating in the air, thereby improving your indoor air quality significantly and reducing many of the symptoms associated with mold exposure. They can additionally go a long way toward eliminating that musty odor so typically associated with mold growth.

Make no mistake, though — if you know that you have a mold problem on your property, because you can smell and see mold, a HEPA air purifier will not remediate your issue. Mold that has settled deep within your home will not disappear after you start using an air purifier. To get clearer insights into the extent of a mold problem within your house, MI&T can, as a nationwide mold inspection company, offer a thorough visual inspection. Our independent mold inspector will then take air samples that tell you how well your air purifier is doing its job.

If you have recently hired a mold remediation company to clear a mold problem within your home, and they subsequently recommended a HEPA air purifier to prevent the recurrence of mold, MI&T can perform clearance testing to assess whether the remediation was successful.

Why simply hope that your air purifying system will prevent you from breathing in potentially harmful mold spores when you can know with absolute certainty?