Are HEPA Filters Compatible with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Knoxville house, HEPA filters are a easy method to enhance the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top measure for air filtration. These filters are frequently in use in medical centers, as they remove at baseline 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling professional like R & M Climate Control Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s go over if you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were initially designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps the majority of substances. Today, these filters are often seen 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 adequate 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 Handle?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more effective the filter is at catching microscopic particles.

Here’s how typical household filters are categorized:

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

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

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like R & M Climate Control Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are commonly part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured inside your ductwork and runs with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some types of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate certain viruses in homes under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of offensive scents, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

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

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants 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 just the filter and may have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others can be used with all brands. R & M Climate Control Service Experts can help you determine what will work best for your home.

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

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your total home, not merely a lone space
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which could create respiratory inflammation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to increase the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at R & M Climate Control Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you find the best solution for your family. Contact us at 865-229-6176 right away to request your appointment.

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