Gallery: DIY: Make Your Own HEPA Air Filtration System for Just $30!


For some of us, allergens are our worst enemy — the fresh pollen of spring, fall foliage, and of course the ever present dust, mold and animal dander. Sometimes the only solution is a high-tech air filtration system, but these complex systems can cost up to $800. But if you’re an allergy sufferer, today is your luck day as Dr. Jeffrey E. Terrell of the University of Michigan Health System’s Sinus Center shows us how to make our own easy air filtration system, for just $30!

Cleaning the air in our homes, especially the bedroom, is imperative to avoiding sinus problems and other allergy related side effects. High Efficiency Particulate Air filters (HEPA) are what doctors suggest for optimal results, but they can get pricey. Luckily, a comparable DIY solution can be found at your local hardware store. Terrell suggests first buying a twenty inch by twenty inch box fan, which usually run around $10-15 (unless you are in New York, which will run you about $20).

Then head to the furnace and heating section, and pick up a twenty by twenty furnace filter. There are many qualities of filters, so it is important to make sure that the filter is both a HEPA filter, and that it has a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 13 or higher. This will be indicated clearly on the packaging, and cost around $15. The rest is easy, just tape the filter (arrows out) to the face of the fan.

Just note that your DIY purifier will be more effective on the floor, rather than in a window, because it will then filter out air in your home, rather than from the outside. Terrell recommends keeping windows closed, and to simply buy another filter when the color turns from white to brown. Your new DIY system can filter allergens up to 90%!

+ University of Michigan

Via Newswise


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  1. Matty Pantaloons October 31, 2012 at 3:33 am

    Thanks a lot for this post. I ran out and bought a decent filter tonight and I notice a difference in air quality already. Up here in Montreal, winter means closed windows, and for a person allergic to dust mites, the season can be lonnnnng…

    I already had a 20×20 box fan, so only needed the filter. Unfortunately, most of the filters where I went were MERV 8, and many other didn\’t have MERV rating; instead have MPR (Micro Particle Performance Rating).I picked up a 3M Filtrete 1900 (1900 MPR), which has about the same filtration as a MERV 13 from what I\’ve read.

    However, none of these filters are HEPA, and I saw a *lot* of furnace filters where I went. From what I understand, HEPA filters create too much resistance for furnaces, but high MERV rating filters do the same job, with the exception of virus removal.

    Also, I attached my filter to the back of my box fan instead of the front. Better to *pull* air into the filter, without cutting down on airflow from the front of the fan.

    Again thanks for the post, fantastic idea.

  2. hodgebodge May 10, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I made one of these box fan + furnace filter contraptions and posted some info about it here:

    I used zip ties, which seems to me to be a better way to go than tape.

  3. caeman July 11, 2011 at 9:19 am

    The filtering would depend on the quality of the filter you buy to fit to the fan. I suppose one could tape a filter to both sides of the fan for double-filtering. A looser intake side, and a stricter out-bound side.

  4. cthue July 11, 2011 at 3:47 am

    I’ve have been looking for a small HEPA system, but most of them are over the $100USD, this looks like a cheap and simple idea, that claims to filter up to 90% of allergens.

    * I wonder if you might use it on the lowest speed. You may don’t want to over heat the fan motor.

  5. caeman June 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Such a simple, yet brilliant, solution to keeping the air in our homes clean.

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