What are HEPA Filters and Do I Need One?

Posted: 2020-08-27

A typical American home has occupants who are busy doing their daily activities, filling their home with significant amounts of pollutants such as viruses, bacteria, and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). These contaminants compromise your home’s indoor air quality, which causes serious health problems, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

While your existing HVAC systems have air filters, but they are not enough to rid your homes of airborne pollutants and irritants effectively. Regular filters found in air conditioners range from coarse to medium efficiencies. These filters, though essential, are not as effective as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

Four Seasons Air Specialists is your reliable HVAC company in Forest Lake MN that offers a wide range of home comfort products, including HEPA filters.


The technology behind HEPA filters was first developed in the 1940s for use in facilities that housed nuclear materials. HEPA filters were designed to keep potentially radioactive particles contained. Eventually, these filters have been used in numerous industries and applications. By the 1960s, HEPA filters were introduced to the consumer market as filters for HVAC systems, vacuum cleaners, and air purifiers.


Experts recommend the regular replacement or cleaning of filters, especially during peak months (summer and winter). This simple maintenance step keeps large amounts of dirt and debris from gathering in your HVAC system.

On the other hand, failure to replace or clean your air filters regularly can put your family’s health at risk, especially if you have children, people aged 60 or more, and those with preexisting respiratory or skin conditions. All of these scenarios, including living with domesticated pets, are reasons to upgrade to a HEPA filter.

The Importance of Air Purification

Contrary to what most people believe, the air that circulates throughout your home is more polluted than the air outside. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is usually 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside air.

Your indoor air directly affects your health. The National Air Filtration Association estimates that about 95 to 98 percent of indoor air is made up of microscopic particles smaller than one micron. These particles include viruses, bacteria, dust, and smoke that can compromise your health.

Understanding HEPA Filters

Not all filtration systems have the same level of efficiency. A standard filter (about 1 inch thick) protects your HVAC equipment from dirt and dust, but it does very little to improve indoor air quality. While it takes the visible dirt out of the air, it fails at purifying the air in terms of protecting your lungs because it’s not made for that purpose.

Air filters are measured based on their minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) scale from 1 to 16. A filter rated higher than 16 is considered a HEPA filter. The higher the MERV rating, the more pollutants a filter can capture. Some HEPA filters can even trap certain viruses, in addition to bacteria, mold spores, and cigarette smoke. Moreover, HEPA filters also reduce allergens and respiratory irritants.

Benefits of HEPA Filters

High-efficiency filters have been proven to be effective at sifting contaminated air. They reduce allergens, respiratory irritants, dust, dirt, and pet dander. They can also create cleaner smelling air and help keep your ductwork and HVAC parts clean.

HEPA filters eliminate up to 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns or larger from your indoor air. Such filters help you breathe cleaner air that will allow your lungs and other organs to work better, usually leading to better oxygen absorption by your brain.

If you have a family member who is suffering from allergies, using a HEPA filter will help remove most airborne particles that aggravate allergies. Such a filter can also help if you have smokers in the home. While not smoking at home is the best way to get rid of cigarette smoke, but if this is not an option, having a HEPA filter can help everyone breathe much more effortlessly.

Upgrade to HEPA Filters with Four Seasons Air Specialists

Do you need more information about high-efficiency filters? If so, give us a call. We’d love to answer your questions and help you find the right filter for your home. We have been your trusted Hugo heating and air conditioning company since 1974.