Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Buffalo home, HEPA filters are a effective way to enhance the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top measure for air filtration. These filters are typically installed in medical centers, as they filter at baseline 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and may restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Sunbeam Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over 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 originally designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that captures most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are frequently seen in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you tried to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have issues having adequate air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the better the filter is at trapping microscopic substances.

Here’s how standard 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. Traps pollen, dust mites, mold and some fumes.

Greater ratings, like MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest consulting with a heating and cooling company like Sunbeam Service Experts beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

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

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably destroy select viruses in houses under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most strong odors, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different solutions that work alongside 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 small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining contaminants and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are often the full 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 add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others can be used with all brands. Sunbeam Service Experts can help you figure out what will work best for your home.

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

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Provides filtration for your total home, not only one area
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Sunbeam Service Experts are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you discover the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 716-427-6807 today to schedule your appointment.

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