Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your San Antonio home, HEPA filters are a easy approach to purify the air your household breathes.

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

Because of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and could restrict airflow in some home comfort units. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling pro like San Antonio Air Service Experts before installing one to avoid damage to 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HEPA furnace filters were originally made to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that captures the majority of substances. Today, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you tried to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have trouble receiving enough air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

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

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

  • 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 certain fumes.

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

In most cases, the highest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise consulting with a heating and cooling company like San Antonio Air Service Experts first to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed in your ductwork and operates alongside your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some types of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out certain viruses in residences under certain airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many strong odors, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a couple of different styles that work alongside your HVAC unit—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 miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are often the full 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 compatible with certain brands, while others are compatible with all brands. San Antonio Air Service Experts can help you decide what will give you the best results for your home.

Here are a couple of things to look for when considering a filtration system for your family:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your whole home, not only one space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at San Antonio Air Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 210-570-9705 right away to request your appointment.

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