Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your West Palm Beach residence, HEPA filters are a great method to improve the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top standard for air filtration. These filters are typically installed in medical settings, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic particles from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and may restrict airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s review if you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Filter Air?

HEPA filters were originally produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps most substances. Now, these filters are often installed in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues having enough air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at catching tiny particles.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Traps pollen and dust mites.
  • Pleated filters—MERV 8. Filters pollen, dust mites and mold.
  • Box filters—MERV 13. Filters pollen, dust mites, mold and certain fumes.

Higher ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise asking a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning first to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are commonly used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed in your ductwork and purifies in partnership with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, these systems sometimes include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably destroy certain viruses in residences under particular airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of pungent odors, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a couple of different solutions that operate in partnership with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover contaminants and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are usually the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and might come with carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you figure out what will provide you the best results for your home.

Here are several components to look for when considering a filtration system for your home:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Delivers filtration for your complete home, not merely one space
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might create respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you find the right solution for your needs. Contact us at 561-629-1826 now to request your appointment.

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