Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your West Chester house, HEPA filters are a effective approach to purify the air your loved ones breathe.

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

Due to their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and can lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling Expert like Wesley Wood Service Experts before installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether 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 defend scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that catches the majority of pollutants. In modern times, these filters are typically seen in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

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

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

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

Here’s how standard household filters are categorized:

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

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

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

HEPA filters in residential settings are often installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured within your ductwork and works with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out some viruses in homes under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many strong scents, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different options that function 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 contaminants down to .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

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 might come with carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Wesley Wood Service Experts can help you figure out what will work best for your family.

Here are a couple of things to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your family:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Delivers filtration for your whole house, not just one space
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might result in respiratory inflammation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Wesley Wood Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you find the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 484-401-7577 now to book your appointment.

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