Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Jacksonville home, HEPA filters are a great method to purify the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard for air filtration. These filters are often used in medical centers, as they trap at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and may reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Air Engineers Service Experts in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were initially designed to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps the majority of pollutants. Now, these filters are often installed in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have issues having enough air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at trapping tiny pollutants.

Here’s how common 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. Captures pollen, dust mites, mold and specific fumes.

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Air Engineers Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are typically part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is secured inside your ductwork and filters alongside your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some types of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently wipe out certain viruses in houses under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate the majority of strong scents, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are several different solutions that operate 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 small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual particles and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are usually the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and can come with carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with specific brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Air Engineers Service Experts can help you decide what will give you the best results for your home.

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

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your complete house, not merely a single area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which may result in respiratory sensitivity
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Air Engineers Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the best solution for your budget. Contact us at 904-450-5672 right away to schedule your appointment.

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