Do HEPA Filters Function with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Elkhart residence, HEPA filters are a powerful method to enhance the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are frequently used in hospitals, as they filter at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic substances from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to call a heating and cooling professional like BW/Cook Service Experts before installing one to avoid 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 furnace filters were originally produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from intricate mesh that traps most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are often installed in medical facilities, science labs and even homes.

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have trouble receiving ample air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more effective the filter is at trapping microscopic pollutants.

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

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

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

Generally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking a heating and cooling company like BW/Cook Service Experts prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are commonly part of an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed in your ductwork and works in partnership with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy some viruses in homes under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of strong smells, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different solutions that function 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 often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual particles and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are typically the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and might have carbon filtration upgrades.

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

Here are several features to be on the lookout for when getting a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Gives filtration for your complete residence, not only one room
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which may create respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at BW/Cook Service Experts are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you discover the ideal solution for your budget. Contact us at 574-218-6404 today to request your appointment.

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