Do HEPA Filters Go with Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Charleston residence, HEPA filters are a effective method to freshen the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak measure for air filtration. These filters are often installed in medical centers, as they filter at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to call a heating and cooling Expert like Pardee Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA furnace filters were primarily made to defend scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that captures the majority of contaminants. Now, these filters are often used in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have problems having ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at trapping tiny substances.

Here’s how typical household filters are categorized:

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

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest consulting with a heating and cooling company like Pardee Service Experts first to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed in your ductwork and operates alongside your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently wipe out select viruses in houses under specific airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of offensive scents, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different styles that operate in partnership with your HVAC unit—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 small as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

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

Some of these systems are designed to work with distinct brands, while others can be used with all brands. Pardee Service Experts can help you determine what will give you the best results in your situation.

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

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your total home, not just one area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which might create respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Pardee Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort matters to us, so we’ll work with you to help you find the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 843-410-6103 right away to book your appointment.

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