Do HEPA Filters Function with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Cocoa home, HEPA filters are a effective way to purify the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are typically in use in medical settings, as they filter at minimum 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are deep and may restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning before installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were originally designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that catches the majority of contaminants. Now, these filters are often seen in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

If you made an attempt to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have trouble having enough air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the better the filter is at capturing microscopic substances.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

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

Better ratings, like MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are commonly used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This unit is installed inside your ductwork and purifies in partnership with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some types of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in homes under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many pungent scents, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a couple of different styles that operate alongside 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 contaminants down to .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining particles and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are usually the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and can have carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are created to work with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you determine what will give you the best results for your home.

Here are a couple of things to check for when considering a filtration system for your residence:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Delivers filtration for your total house, not just a single space
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which might cause respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you find the best solution for your family. Contact us at 321-428-7635 now to schedule your appointment.

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