Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Edmonton house, HEPA filters are a effective approach to purify the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak benchmark for air filtration. These filters are frequently installed in medical settings, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and can lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling professional like McKinley Heating Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA filters were initially made to protect scientists from radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that traps the majority of contaminants. Now, these filters are often installed in medical centers, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have trouble having enough 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 Handle?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the better the filter is at catching small particles.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

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

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

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise checking with a heating and cooling company like McKinley Heating Service Experts beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are typically used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed within your ductwork and operates in partnership with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, these systems sometimes include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably wipe out some viruses in homes under certain airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many offensive smells, including cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different options that operate with 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 down to .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining pollutants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are often the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and can come with carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others can be used with all brands. McKinley Heating Service Experts can help you determine what will work best for your family.

Here are several components to look for when getting a filtration system for your house:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your total residence, not only a single room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at McKinley Heating Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work with you to help you choose the ideal solution for your needs. Contact us at 780-800-7092 now to book your appointment.

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