Getting Hip to HEPA

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“Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe…” That line from the old Hollies hit has resonated a lot with me in recent years. And it gives me a springboard to draw your attention to some technology that may improve your daily life just a little bit.  My guess is that if I asked you what a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter was, most of you would likely have little to no idea what I am talking about. To those of you who do know, bravo!


HEPA filter diagram from Wiki

In this day and age of mad pollution, escalating weird weather, and gawd-awful off-gassing from various and sundry things we buy, a little bit of filtration can go a long way to making your day-to-day life more bearable. Actually, its more than a little bit: HEPA is dense filtration system that is super fine and seems to really get a lot of dust and stuff out of the air.  Stuff you would otherwise be breathing.

This is purely my user story. I do not profess to be an expert on this topic. But I have read a bit on it and now own two different brands of HEPA filters which have made my daily living a bit easier.

I’ll spare you my gory personal details of a lifetime battling allergies.

Instead, I will let some pictures do the talking.  First up are some photos I took when replacing the dual layer filters (again, that’s what makes HEPA do its thing — super fine filtration of air) after moving from from my old apartment to a new one.

Caveats on these first pics:

a) I used to have a dog (so fur was abundant);

b) I am a music collector (so lots of old records around); and…

c) I live in San Francisco (which, while cleaner than living in NYC, and I say this from experience, it is still a big city replete with car, bus and truck emissions, plus lots pollen and mold).

Electrolux Inner NEW VS OLD

That said, I was still shocked at the dirt on these things. For example, here is a side by side view of my first major filter change in April.  At this stage, the core filter is about a year old (the grey one on the right, replaced by a new one on the left.  The shadows you see on the left are lighting related; that filter was pure white).


Here is the vertical filter with a new filter on top to contrast with the old one below. This was probably after about nine months of owning this HEPA filter.

This week I am changing the outer filters on the big Electrolux unit I now keep running 24/7 in my bedroom.  Here is a side-by-side composite view of two filters, after and before.  The grey filter on the left is only about four months old. When new, the filter is deep charcoal black (the image on the right). This outer filter sits on top of the white filter (per the images above)


Of my two HEPA filters, I really like the Electrolux, since it’s quiet and seemingly very smart. It smells things and will automatically shift into hyper drive on its own some times. This is handy when cooking in my little apartment, but also a little unsettling when it suddenly goes on an I can’t smell anything in particular.  I live in a fairly modern building, but who knows what kinds of dust and dirt are circulating through the building’s ventilation and heating system.  So knowing that the Electrolux has my back and filters all the time is comforting.

The other unit was cheaper and is functional but (as the kids might say) its hella noisy! I now run it overnight in my office/studio area where I keep most of my records and gear.  I am looking for another Electrolux or equivalent to keep running in the living room. 

Anyhow, if this post helps even one person I’ll feel good about that. Do some research and check out some HEPA filter options that might be right for you.  And if you have any suggestions or recommendations for other favorite HEPA filter brands I should check out, please post your thoughts here.

Here’s to cleaner air and breathing freely.

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