Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Kitchener home, HEPA filters are a effective way to improve the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak standard for air filtration. These filters are frequently used in hospitals, as they trap at baseline 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and can reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts in advance of installing one to prevent 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HEPA filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps most pollutants. Now, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues receiving enough air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the better the filter is at capturing microscopic substances.

Here’s how common household filters rank:

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

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend asking a heating and cooling company like Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently part of a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured in your ductwork and filters alongside your HVAC system.

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

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a couple of different solutions that operate in partnership with 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 little as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover particles and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are typically the complete 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 add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with certain brands, while others can be used with all brands. Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts can help you decide what will give you the best results for your family.

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

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your total home, not just a lone space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can create respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you find the ideal solution for your budget. Contact us at 519-804-1617 now to request your appointment.

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