Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Memphis house, HEPA filters are a simple method to enhance the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold measure for air filtration. These filters are frequently installed in hospitals, as they trap at least 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic pollutants from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their outstanding filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and can reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s crucial to call a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA furnace filters were primarily produced to protect scientists from radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that traps most contaminants. Today, these filters are often installed in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have trouble receiving enough air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the greater the filter is at catching microscopic substances.

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

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

Greater ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Normally, the highest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning beforehand to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are commonly installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This unit is installed in your ductwork and works alongside your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some types of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy select viruses in houses under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate the majority of strong smells, including cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

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 particles down to .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover particles and carbon filter for scents.

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 only the filter and can offer 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 figure out what will work best for your home.

Here are a few things to be on the lookout for when getting a filtration system for your house:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Delivers filtration for your total home, not only one space
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which may cause respiratory inflammation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your home, 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 matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you discover the best solution for your home. Contact us at 901-235-1196 today to request your appointment.

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