Both HEPA filters and carbon filters work to improve indoor air quality. However, due to differences in filtering capabilities, HEPA and carbon filters are often used in different industries. Ideally, both of of these two filters should be used together given that they both filter out different contaminants.This article will explore the differences between the two in more detail below.
HEPA filters are some of the most popular and widely known filters on the market. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air.
HEPA filters remove 99.97% of contaminants in the air that are 0.3 microns in size, making these filters highly effective at sanitizing the air. HEPA filters are capable of capturing such small particles such things as bacteria, mold, dust mites and pollen. For this reason, not only are HEPA filters found in household vacuums, for example, but they are also used in the healthcare industry, schools and offices.
HEPA filters were originally used in World War II to eliminate the radioactive particles in the air that were affecting soldiers’ respiratory systems.
Unlike carbon filters, HEPA filters are not designed to remove odours, smoke, fumes or chemicals. HEPA filters also trap microorganisms, which is why it is recommended to use both HEPA filters and carbon filters.
Carbon or charcoal filters were designed to filter out odours, smoke, fumes and other chemicals. Therefore, carbon filters are suitable to commercial buildings where chemicals are common. Carbon filters come in many different forms, including foam, powder, cloth and solid carbon.
In short: charcoal is treated with oxygen, which opens up the pores between the carbon atoms. As contaminants pass through the filter, the tiny pores chemically react and neutralize. Once all of the pores have been filled with contaminants, the filter needs to be replaced so that it can remain at optimal performance. Keep in mind that carbon filters can also purify liquids, which is why these filters are also used in coffee machines and when distilling whisky.
The Bottom Line
In short, HEPA filters are capable of removing dust and other allergens, such as mold, while carbon filters are capable of filtering out smoke, fumes and other chemicals. Both, however, are necessary for improved air quality across many different industries.
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