Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Austin residence, HEPA filters are a easy way to purify the air your family breathes.

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

Because of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and might lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to call a heating and cooling Expert like Strand Brothers Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review 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 safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that catches the majority of pollutants. In modern times, these filters are often seen in medical centers, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have problems receiving ample air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a dense 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 capturing tiny pollutants.

Here’s how common household filters rank:

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

Greater ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like Strand Brothers Service Experts first to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are commonly part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is placed in your ductwork and purifies alongside your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably eliminate certain viruses in homes under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of strong scents, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different styles that work alongside your HVAC system—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 little as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are usually the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and may have carbon filtration upgrades.

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

Here are a few components to be on the lookout for when considering a filtration system for your residence:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your complete home, not only one area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which could cause respiratory inflammation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to boost the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Strand Brothers Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the best solution for your needs. Contact us at 512-592-3072 right away to get your appointment.

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