Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Fort Lauderdale house, HEPA filters are a simple approach to freshen the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top standard for air filtration. These filters are often used in medical settings, as they filter at baseline 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in advance of installing one to avoid 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 primarily made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that traps most contaminants. Now, these filters are typically used in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues receiving enough air from your vents. This is because 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 ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at capturing microscopic pollutants.

Here’s how standard household filters are categorized:

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

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

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning prior to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are typically part of a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed inside your ductwork and works in partnership with your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, some models of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably destroy certain viruses in homes under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of pungent smells, including cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different options that work with your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

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

Some of these systems are designed to work with distinct brands, while others can be used with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you decide what will work best in your situation.

Here are a few components to check for when considering a filtration system for your residence:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your whole residence, not merely a single space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which might create respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, 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 is our top priority, so we’ll work with you to help you choose the right solution for your needs. Contact us at 954-736-4314 right away to get your appointment.

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