Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Jackson home, HEPA filters are a powerful way to improve the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold measure for air filtration. These filters are frequently used in medical settings, as they remove at baseline 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and can lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s essential to contact a heating and cooling professional like Comfortech Service Experts in advance of installing one to prevent 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 primarily produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use very thin mesh that traps the majority of pollutants. In modern times, these filters are frequently seen in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

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

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

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

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

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

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking a heating and cooling company like Comfortech Service Experts first to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are commonly part of a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured within your ductwork and purifies in partnership with your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently wipe out certain viruses in houses under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of strong odors, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different options that function in partnership with 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 contaminants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining particles and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are often the total package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and may come with carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Comfortech Service Experts can help you decide what will work best for your family.

Here are a couple of components to check for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your complete house, not just one room
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which might create respiratory irritation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to increase the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Comfortech Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you discover the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 601-852-3105 right away to schedule your appointment.

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