Are HEPA Filters Compatible with Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Shreveport house, HEPA filters are a simple approach to freshen the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold benchmark for air filtration. These filters are typically used in medical centers, as they trap at baseline 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic pollutants from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and might reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s important to call a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss if 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 designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that traps most pollutants. Now, these filters are typically installed in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have problems getting ample air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

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

Here’s how typical household filters are categorized:

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

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

In most cases, 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 prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are typically installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed inside your ductwork and filters alongside your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate certain viruses in residences under specific airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most pungent odors, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are several different solutions that work in partnership with your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

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 can come with carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are created to work with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you decide what will provide you the best results for your family.

Here are a few features to look for when considering a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your complete home, not just a single area
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can result in respiratory irritation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you find the right solution for your family. Contact us at 318-588-8163 right away to schedule your appointment.

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