Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Ocala residence, HEPA filters are a great approach to enhance the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak benchmark for air filtration. These filters are frequently installed in hospitals, as they remove at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic substances from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and can lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to call a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were initially designed to defend scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use very thin mesh that traps many substances. Now, these filters are often seen in medical centers, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues receiving adequate air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the better the filter is at capturing tiny pollutants.

Here’s how standard household filters stack up:

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

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning beforehand to avoid damaging your furnace.

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

To improve filtration power, some types of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably destroy some viruses in homes under particular airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of many pungent smells, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a couple of different options that function with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are often the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and can offer carbon filtration options.

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

Here are several things to be on the lookout for when considering a filtration system for your residence:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Gives filtration for your total home, not just a lone room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may cause respiratory inflammation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the right solution for your home. Contact us at 352-414-4006 today to book your appointment.

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