Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Grand Island home, HEPA filters are a great way to enhance the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard for air filtration. These filters are frequently in use in hospitals, as they filter at baseline 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic substances from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and may lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling pro like McElroy Service Experts in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss if you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA filters were primarily made to defend scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from intricate mesh that captures the majority of substances. Now, these filters are typically used in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

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

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more effective the filter is at catching small substances.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

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

In most cases, the highest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise consulting with a heating and cooling company like McElroy Service Experts beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed within your ductwork and purifies in partnership with your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, some models of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably destroy certain viruses in homes under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of many offensive scents, including cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different solutions that work with your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants 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 just the filter and might come with carbon filtration upgrades.

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

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

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Delivers filtration for your total house, not merely a lone room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may result in respiratory inflammation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to boost the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at McElroy Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work with you to help you choose the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 308-210-4398 right away to get your appointment.

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