Are HEPA Filters Compatible with Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Voorhees residence, HEPA filters are a powerful approach to improve the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold benchmark for air filtration. These filters are often used in medical centers, as they trap at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic pollutants from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and could lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s important to contact a heating and cooling professional like Atmostemp Service Experts in advance of 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 initially produced to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use very thin mesh that traps most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are frequently seen in medical centers, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble getting enough air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed 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 greater the number, the more efficient the filter is at catching tiny substances.

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

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

Higher ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend asking a heating and cooling company like Atmostemp Service Experts prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are commonly used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed in your ductwork and operates in partnership with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate some viruses in homes under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can eliminate many offensive scents, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different solutions that function with 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 pollutants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are often the total package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is only the filter and can have carbon filtration options.

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

Here are a couple of things to check for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures particles, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your whole residence, not just a lone room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might cause respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you want to boost the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Atmostemp Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work with you to help you find the best solution for your family. Contact us at 856-310-4824 now to get your appointment.

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