Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Louisville house, HEPA filters are a easy approach to freshen the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top standard for air filtration. These filters are often in use in medical settings, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic pollutants from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are deep and can lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling professional like Becht/Givens Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were primarily designed to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that captures most 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 probably have issues getting enough air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

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

Here’s how common household filters are categorized:

  • 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.

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

Normally, the highest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise asking a heating and cooling company like Becht/Givens Service Experts beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are commonly part of an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured within your ductwork and operates alongside your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out certain viruses in houses under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most offensive odors, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different solutions that work with your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system is most effective, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are typically the full 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 options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Becht/Givens Service Experts can help you determine what will give you the best results in your situation.

Here are a couple of features to be on the lookout for when getting a filtration system for your house:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps particles, bioaerosols and smells
  • Provides filtration for your complete home, not just a single room
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which might result in respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Becht/Givens Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you discover the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 502-785-8230 right away to book your appointment.

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