Are HEPA Filters OK for Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Sharonville house, HEPA filters are a effective way to purify the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top standard for air filtration. These filters are frequently used in hospitals, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and could restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to contact a heating and cooling Expert like Knochelmann Service Experts prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether 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 produced to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that traps most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are often installed in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have problems getting adequate air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made 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 bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing tiny substances.

Here’s how common household filters rank:

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

Greater ratings, like MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter usually 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 Knochelmann Service Experts beforehand to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are typically used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This unit is placed within your ductwork and filters in partnership with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate certain viruses in residences under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most strong scents, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different solutions that operate alongside your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are typically 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 add-ons.

Some of these systems are designed to work with distinct brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Knochelmann Service Experts can help you decide what will give you the best results for your home.

Here are a couple of components to check for when getting a filtration system for your home:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and smells
  • Delivers filtration for your total home, not only one space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which may cause respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to increase the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Knochelmann Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the right solution for your home. Contact us at 859-905-0834 today to get your appointment.

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