Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Boise house, 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 often used in medical settings, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic substances from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their outstanding filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and could reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling Expert like TML Service Experts before installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss if 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 protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that traps most substances. In modern times, these filters are typically seen in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

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

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the better the filter is at catching microscopic pollutants.

Here’s how standard household filters stack up:

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

Better ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the biggest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise asking a heating and cooling company like TML Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are typically used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed in your ductwork and runs in partnership with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate select viruses in homes under certain airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of many strong smells, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a couple of different styles that operate in partnership 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 pollutants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are often the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and can offer carbon filtration add-ons.

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

Here are a few components to be on the lookout for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters pollutants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Provides filtration for your total house, not just a lone space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which may create respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at TML Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you choose the right solution for your home. Contact us at 208-488-4892 now to request your appointment.

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