ULPA filters are air filters designed to trap a large majority of very small contaminating particles from an air stream. They are often used in applications where airborne particles and pathogens are hazardous to human health or essential in manufacturing or assembly operations for sensitive equipment. These filters are also used in environments that require ultra-pure air to eliminate the risk of contamination. ULPA filters are used for highly specialized environments where the air must be as pure as possible.
Particularly common in electronics factories, cleanrooms are used to create highly sensitive components that have very poor tolerances for dirt or dust. To achieve the same level of performance as a similarly sized HEPA filter, an ULPA filter must allow more air to pass through in the same amount of time. You'll also find these air filters in airplanes and in many complex operations that release plumes of toxic particles into the air. HEPA filters can be combined with pre-filters to trap larger particles before they come into contact with the main filter.
Understanding your application requirements and the level of efficiency required will help you choose the right air filter for your needs. These complex HEPA filters exceed the typical MERV rating scale, making them the most efficient and popular choice for many industries. HEPA filters have a lifespan of up to ten years, while the typical lifecycle of a ULPA filter ranges from five to eight years. In fact, for residential purposes, ULPA filters will leave the air DIRTIER than a HEPA filter.
With the same filter life and replacement cost, ULPA filters reduce the chance of operator infection and product contamination. A HEPA filter, on the other hand, will allow air to circulate much faster, leaving the air cleaner than a ULPA filter. The ULPA filter's higher efficiency rating is due to the higher density of the filter media, which allows up to 50% lower airflow than HEPA filters and requires more power to move air. ULPA filters are 99.999% efficient at removing submicron particles 0.12 microns in diameter or greater, while HEPA filters are 99.97% efficient at removing particles 0.3 microns in diameter or greater.
Ultra-Low Penetration Air Filters (ULPA) can filter all airborne particles, pollen, dust, mold, or bacteria, except 0.001%.