Do HEPA Filters Go with Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Gaithersburg house, HEPA filters are a effective way to freshen the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak standard 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 capture microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to contact a heating and cooling Expert like Parker Pearce Service Experts in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were initially produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that catches many contaminants. Today, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues having 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 Use?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing small pollutants.

Here’s how typical household filters are categorized:

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

Higher ratings, like MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Normally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like Parker Pearce Service Experts beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently installed in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is installed in your ductwork and purifies alongside your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in houses under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many offensive smells, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different options that function in partnership 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 contaminants down to .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multistep 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 total package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and can have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with distinct brands, while others work with all brands. Parker Pearce Service Experts can help you decide what will provide you the best results for your family.

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

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Delivers filtration for your whole residence, not just one space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can create respiratory inflammation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to increase the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Parker Pearce Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you find the right solution for your budget. Contact us at 301-476-4577 right away to schedule your appointment.

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