Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Canada home, HEPA filters are a easy approach to enhance the air your loved ones breathe.

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

As a result of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and can lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning before installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review 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 initially made to protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps many substances. Now, these filters are frequently seen in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have problems receiving ample air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered 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 higher the number, the more effective the filter is at trapping tiny substances.

Here’s how common household filters stack up:

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

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

Generally, the highest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning first to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are often used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured in your ductwork and works with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably eliminate select viruses in homes under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate the majority of strong smells, including cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different styles that operate with your HVAC system—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 miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining 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 is just the filter and can come with carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are created to work with certain 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 features to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps particles, bioaerosols and smells
  • Gives filtration for your whole house, not merely a lone room
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can result in respiratory irritation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance 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 household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you find the right solution for your home. Contact us at 866-397-3787 now to schedule your appointment.

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