HEPA air filters in Canada- What does your industry need?

There are a few different types of HEPA filters available in Canada today that vary in design, depending on the use. HEPA filters are essential when getting the absolute cleanest air is the primary goal. They effectively remove the smallest particles and pollutants, such as PM2.5, PM1, and airbourne viruses. HEPA filters have a wide range of applications, usually in facilities that require maximum protection against contamination such as cleanrooms. This article will describe the types of HEPA filters available in Canada and when to use them.

Understanding HEPA & ULPA filters

A high-efficiency particulate air filter known most commonly as ‘HEPA’ is a pleated, mechanical air filter. A HEPA filter differs from other air filters in that, for example, unlike a MERV-13 filter, it removes more particles from the air, at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mould, bacteria, and any airbourne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). This is the worst-case scenario; often, a HEPA filter can remove more than 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). Source: EPA

A high-efficiency particulate air filter known most commonly as ‘HEPA’ is a pleated, mechanical air filter. A HEPA filter differs from other air filters in that, for example, unlike a MERV-13 filter, it removes more particles from the air, at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mould, bacteria, and any airbourne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). This is the worst-case scenario; often, a HEPA filter can remove more than 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). Source: EPA

Camfil HEPA filters undergo a rigorous testing protocol to ensure the best performance and reliability.

Read more about air filter testing: HEPA filter test standards

Why is 0.3 µm used for a measure of HEPA filter effectiveness in HEPA air filters?

The reason for using a specific particle size of 0.3 microns as a measure, stems from how particles behave. Larger particles cannot pass through the filter’s perforations, while smaller particles are trapped owing to Brownian Motion’s principle of erratic movement. The most penetrating particle size (MPPS) is 0.3 m, which is the most difficult for the filter to capture. If a filter can effectively capture 0.3 µm particles, it will have less difficulty with larger particles and smaller particles.

What are the major global certifications and standards for HEPA & ULPA filters?

IEST RP-CC001, EN-1822, and ISO29463 are global standards that define the requirements and testing procedures for HEPA and Ultra Low Penetration Air (ULPA) filters.

1.    IEST RP-CC001: “This standard is outlined by the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST). It covers HEPA and ULPA filter requirements between customers and suppliers. It includes 11 levels of filter performance and six grades of filter construction. Filters that meet these standards are suitable for cleanrooms that fall within the scope of ISO 14644 and systems that require extremely high filter efficiency (99.97% or higher) for submicrometer (μm) particles.”

2.    EN-1822: “This is the European standard for filters used in ventilation and air conditioning. It covers HEPA and ULPA filters based on their efficiency at the Most Penetrating Particle Size (MPPS).”

3.    ISO29463: “This is an international standard derived from EN-1822. It consists of a series of standards (ISO 29463-1 to ISO 29463-5) and requirements, test procedures, performance classification, and marking of HEPA and ULPA filters.”

Using these worldwide standards, HEPA and ULPA filters go through three key certification steps: efficiency testing, leak testing, and construction quality review. The filter’s capacity to remove particles at MPPS is determined via efficiency testing. Leak testing verifies that each filter satisfies the required specifications. The frame, sealant, gasket materials, media, and separators of the filter are all evaluated for construction quality. HEPA filters are approved for use in a variety of applications after passing these tests.

HEPA filters for Hospitals and healthcare clinics

In healthcare, HEPA filters are used in research laboratories, operating rooms (OR), intensive care units (ICU), and cleanrooms to remove infectious airbourne contaminants and other particles that can interfere with processes. HEPA filters in healthcare are crucial in keeping facilities clean and preventing viral outbreaks to protect patients, staff, and medical practitioners. Canadian hospitals are using HEPA filters more than ever due to a larger threat of Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAI).  

Selecting the right air filters for healthcare

Each HEPA filter should be individually tested. Pathogens, infectious airbourne particles, and pollutants from outdoors or generated inside facilities must be eliminated in healthcare settings.

There are 2 basic test procedures a HEPA filter can go through. The first is an “overall efficiency test” which confirms the HEPA is stopping the required number of overall particles. A scan test is performed to look specifically for leaks in the media or around the frame allowing certain size particles to pass. Tests will ensure that the filter’s overall efficiency meets the rating’s requirements, e.g., a 99.995% efficiency filter must collect at least that stated amount.

What kind of air filter is typically used in hospital cleanrooms, operating rooms, or ICUs?

All critical areas such as operating rooms and cleanrooms should have ceiling module HEPA panels and in less critical areas. Box style filters in air handling units to eliminate contaminants can be used. A bag-in-bag-out (BIBO) filter system is a specialized air filtration system designed to safely remove and replace filters without exposing service personnel or building occupants to potentially hazardous contaminants. Camfil’s BIBO systems, such as the CamContain are designed with safety and efficiency in mind, offering all-welded construction, integral bagging rings, and optional prefilters for increased filter life.

Hospitals require HEPA filters on the exhaust side and the supply side depending on the application.

How could that create issues in an ICU operating room or in another area of a hospital?

For example, if a person with severe breathing problems is exposed to harmful airborne contaminants, it can be detrimental to their health. Some patients are more susceptible to pneumonia. Preventing conditions that can lead to pneumonia is vital for patient health. HEPA filters provide an optimum solution, limiting such threats to health.

As a temporary measure, where proper HEPA filtration is not presently available due to constraints, portable air cleaners that include HEPA filters can be used because they protect patients who have respiratory problems, e.g. asthma or COPD, from harmful particles.

Where would you need a high-capacity filtration system?

A high-capacity air filtration system is necessary – when a lower pressure drop is desired in order to maintain the required air flow and in areas where changing the filter is difficult. Operating rooms must not have recirculated air; it must be outside air only. The higher the air changes per hour, the cleaner the air. An added advantage of HEPA filters with a lower average pressure drop is that they last much longer.

Semiconductor manufacturing and data centres

Why is it important to have high-quality or high-capacity air filters in the semiconductor industry?

Semiconductors require very high air purity, so when semiconductor manufacturers make wafers or semiconductor chips, impurities cannot settle on them because that will contaminate the chips and cause them to be rejected. Companies want to make sure that they get as close to 100% output as far as semiconductor chips or components are concerned.

The components that are used to make these semiconductor chips are costly. Producers cannot afford waste.

Semiconductor fabrication facilities all use panel HEPA filters, requiring laminar flow HEPA ceiling panels.

There are specialty filters that incorporate molecular filters with HEPA filters to take care of any VOCs or off-gassing from filters to avoid any gaseous contamination in semiconductor fabrication.

Highly sensitive operations may require HEPA filters engineered for semiconductor facilities and demand that they have no off-gassing components like a boron or boron borosilicate which may contaminate chips.

Semiconductor chips used in computers, phones, cars, etc., must be produced in cleanrooms. Only HEPA and ULPA filters can provide adequate efficiency.

HEPA filters for the pharmaceutical industry

HEPA filters are used in cleanrooms in the pharmaceutical industry to help prevent microbiological contamination during the manufacturing process and maintain air quality during the packaging phase. HEPA filters are used in the pharmaceutical industry to avoid cross-contamination, maintain product purity, and limit liability. 

Pharmaceutical companies require both laminar flow panel HEPA filters and/or box-style HEPA filters based on specific areas.

HEPA for Food and beverage production

In food and beverage production, depending on what is being produced, a cleanroom setting may be required. Typically, food and beverage production is done on an assembly line where a high level of filtration is needed.

Some food and beverage producers may utilize HEPA filtration but typically use high-quality MERV-14/14-A, or MERV-15/15-A, ASHRAE-rated filters. If they are packaging something with a threat of contamination, a cleanroom setting and HEPA filtration may be required.

Filtration for Canadian Nuclear Power Plants

Since the early 1960s, Camfil has supplied nuclear power plants with clean air solutions, including gas-phase and nuclear particle filtration, to more than 90 nuclear reactors worldwide. HEPA air filters are utilized in nuclear power plants, but other solutions may be required as well. All Camfil HEPA filters are tested at 20% and 100% of their rated airflows, not just AG-1 rated HEPA filters.These specialized filters are engineered, constructed, and produced to be appropriate for use in high-risk nuclear installations.

Is retrofitting an air filtration system to accommodate full-sized HEPA filters a good idea?

Ontario-based air filtration expert Abhi Arora states, “Doing so could be very costly in some cases. But, if there are footprint constraints or capital or funding limitations and retrofitting is the only way to go, then I would recommend retrofitting. There are several retrofitting solutions. With the total cost of ownership in mind, a new system may be the best solution.”

HEPA filters can last anywhere from two years to 10 years as long as they have a good level of prefiltration. The best quality air filters can also help save energy.

It’s important to understand that HEPA filter pressure drop starts where other filters finish at the end of their life. This means more powerful fans are necessary in most applications.

HEPA filter size and width

Depth ceiling modules usually measure less than 6 inches deep. A HEPA box filter measures from 6 inches to 12 inches (6”- 12”).

HEPA filters available in Toronto

Any industry that is expanding, retrofitting, planning new construction can benefit from free consultation from an air filter expert specializing in various fields. To contact an air filtration expert in Toronto, or other areas of Ontario click here: Toronto Air Filtration

HEPA filters in Vancouver, British Columbia

Camfil is a well-known provider of commercial HEPA filters in Greater Vancouver, offering a range of products designed for any environment. Camfil HEPA and ULPA filters are used in various applications ranging from cleanrooms and semiconductor fabrication to the food and beverage industry and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Air filter solutions in Vancouver, British Columbia

To consult with an air filtration expert anywhere in Canada, or for additional information, please use this contact form and a Camfil air filtration expert will help you with questions and requests.

About Camfil Canada Clean Air Solutions

For over 60 years, Camfil has been helping people breathe cleaner air. As a leading manufacturer of premium clean air solutions, we provide commercial and industrial systems for air filtration and air pollution control that improve worker and equipment productivity, minimize energy use, and benefit human health and the environment. Read more about Camfil Canada



Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST)

*With information from Abhishek Arora, Camfil Canada air filter expert 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Media Contact:

Phillip Ilijevski

Camfil Canada Inc.

T: 437-929-1161

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