About Airborne Particles

Airborne Particles have two classifications: coarse and fine. Particles larger than 2.5 microns are classified as course particles and those 2.5 microns or less are classifies as fine particles. A micron is 1/25,000th of an inch in diameter and our natural defense systems cannot eliminate fine particles. Individuals with health problems, those suffering from allergies, asthma, elderly or young with compromised respiratory systems, should be in clean air environments. Respiratory ailments represent the third largest cause of death in the U.S behind heart disease and cancer (AMA), these medical conditions are often attributed to poor indoor air quality. The EPA indicates indoor air is often 7-10 times poorer than outdoor air quality.

There are three basic approaches to improving indoor air quality:

  • Control or eliminate the source of pollutant
  • Dilute the contaminant, through ventilation
  • Remove the contaminant from the air by filtration

Ventilation is a solid approach, but the source of contaminant may be the outside air, think busy streets. Ventilation may raise the cost of conditioning the air for heating and cooling. When control and ventilation are not practical, filtration is the best solution.

Filtration of sub-micron particles are not always easy. Air filters are not necessarily designed to remove the fine particles from the air stream and are designed to protect the equipment from the larger particles and not the occupants. Standard filters provided with a house furnace, or commercial heating and air conditioning equipment, are not efficient at the removal of the fine particles.

Removing harmful fine particles from the air, requires a filter or filtration device specifically tested for the ability to remove exceedingly small particles. Please note air filtration products that state high efficiencies define this as the capacity for holding dirt according to a percentage of total weight. This does not guarantee you will be able to filter out a corresponding high percentage of the fine particles.

For example, an indoor air sampling shows 98.5% of particles with 1 micron or less, the filtration system will need to remove sub-micron particles, those tested and rated for the 2.5-micron range and smaller.

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