Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Waldorf residence, HEPA filters are a simple approach to enhance the air your family breathes.

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

As a result of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and could lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling professional like A-PLUS Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether or not you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were primarily produced to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have intricate mesh that captures the majority of substances. In modern times, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues having ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are classified 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 typical household filters rank:

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

Higher ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical settings. 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 recommend asking a heating and cooling company like A-PLUS Service Experts prior to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed inside your ductwork and operates alongside your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate certain viruses in homes under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many offensive scents, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a couple of different styles that operate alongside 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 miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

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 only the filter and might come with carbon filtration options.

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

Here are several things to check for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your whole home, not merely a lone space
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which might create respiratory inflammation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to increase the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at A-PLUS Service Experts are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work with you to help you discover the best solution for your family. Contact us at 301-747-3140 now to schedule your appointment.

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