Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Columbus home, HEPA filters are a easy method to enhance the air your household breathes.

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

Due to their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and might restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to call a heating and cooling Expert like Stevenson Service Experts prior to installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were initially designed to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that traps the majority of contaminants. Now, these filters are frequently installed in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you tried to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble having ample air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more effective the filter is at catching tiny substances.

Here’s how standard household filters stack up:

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

Greater ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Stevenson Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are frequently used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed in your ductwork and operates with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy select viruses in houses under particular airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many pungent odors, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different styles that work alongside your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system is most effective, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for scents.

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

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others can be used with all brands. Stevenson Service Experts can help you figure out what will provide you the best results in your situation.

Here are a few things to check for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your whole home, not just a lone area
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which can create respiratory sensitivity
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to increase the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Stevenson Service Experts are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the best solution for your family. Contact us at 614-334-3192 today to book your appointment.

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