Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Ravenna residence, HEPA filters are a effective way to freshen the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold measure for air filtration. These filters are often installed in medical settings, as they trap at least 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic particles from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and might reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in advance of 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 furnace filters were initially made to protect scientists from radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that traps most substances. In modern times, these filters are often used in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

If you made an attempt to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues getting adequate air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at capturing tiny pollutants.

Here’s how common 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. Traps pollen, dust mites, mold and some fumes.

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

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking 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 frequently used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed in your ductwork and filters with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in homes under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most offensive odors, including cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

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

Air purification systems are typically the total 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 upgrades.

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

Here are several things to look for when buying a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and smells
  • Delivers filtration for your complete residence, not merely one room
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which may cause respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the right solution for your home. Contact us at 330-236-4793 today to book your appointment.