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HEPA or HEPA-Like? Key Differences to Consider

If you’re trying to get the smoke smell out of your house, apartment, or condo, then air purifiers can provide you with the help that is needed. The best products to get the smoke smell out of your house tend to be air purifiers and ozone generators. They work by removing particles from the air that the cigarette smoke leaves, which then removes the odor from your living space.

Two different types of filters are used with these products: HEPA and HEPA-like. There are key differences to think about when looking at these common options.

What Is the Price Difference?

True HEPA filters are more expensive than HEPA-like filters when making an initial purchase. HEPA filters tend to last longer than their counterparts, however, with some rated to last up to 5 years before requiring a replacement. HEPA-like filters may need to be replaced 4 times per year. Over the life of the air purifier, the costs tend to even out, but HEPA filters require less maintenance.

Do you want to pay now or pay over time?

How Effective Are the Filters?

To be classified as a true HEPA filter, the product must capture 99% or more of the contaminants that are in the air which is important for allergy sufferers. Many of the filters who receive this classification remove 99.7% of particulates or better.

HEPA-like filters make a similar claim, but it comes with some fine print. They may remove 99% of some particulates, but not all. The effective range of a HEPA-like filter is between 80-95% in most circumstances.

That means a true HEPA filter will always perform better than its counterpart.

How Reusable is the Filter?

True HEPA filters are not reusable. They are typically made of randomly interlaced fibers that cannot withstand more stress than what the air passing over them can cause. If you were to wash out a HEPA filter, you would likely destroy it.

That isn’t always the case with a HEPA-like filter. Some models are designed to be reusable when they are washed out and cared for according to the instructions of the manufacturer. When using these filters to remove cigarette smoke, however, washing them out can be problematic. The smoke coating on the filter can wash into your skin basin or drain, making them smell like smoke.

What Is the Most Effective Solution for Removing Cigarette Smoke?

In a perfect world, the best solution to remove smoke odors and particulates from a home is to use a HEPA-like filter as a pre-filter and then circulate the filtered air through a HEPA filter. The HEPA-like filter will remove the major particles, then the HEPA filter will remove the small particles. This will give you the purest air coming out of the purifier.

Ozone generators are another option to think about. The ozone will trap the odor particles and then remove them from your environment. Because ozone is a lung irritant, however, it is not the right solution for everyone.

Both HEPA and HEPA-like filters get the job done. The best solution is this: purchase the best filter you can afford right now and then take good care of it so you’ll receive the results you want every day.

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