Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Hurricane residence, HEPA filters are a simple approach to improve the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard for air filtration. These filters are typically in use in medical settings, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are deep and might restrict airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s crucial to call a heating and cooling pro like Teays Valley Service Experts before installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally designed to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that catches the majority of substances. In modern times, these filters are often installed in medical centers, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have problems having adequate 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 Handle?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing microscopic particles.

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. Captures pollen, dust mites, mold and some fumes.

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

In most cases, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Teays Valley Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are often installed in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is installed inside your ductwork and purifies 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 wipe out certain viruses in homes under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most pungent scents, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different options that work 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 pollutants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover particles and carbon filter for odors.

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 might offer carbon filtration options.

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

Here are several features to look for when buying a filtration system for your family:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Gives filtration for your total home, not merely one room
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which might create respiratory irritation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to boost the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Teays Valley Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the ideal solution for your budget. Contact us at 304-760-5088 now to request your appointment.

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