Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Tempe house, HEPA filters are a effective method to enhance the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top standard for air filtration. These filters are often installed in medical settings, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic pollutants from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and could lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s crucial to call a heating and cooling pro like Orangutan Home Services 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 primarily made to defend scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from intricate mesh that captures most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are frequently used in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues receiving ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the greater the filter is at trapping microscopic particles.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

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

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like Orangutan Home Services prior to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently part of a separate 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 come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably wipe out certain viruses in homes under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of pungent smells, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different solutions that operate alongside your HVAC system—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 small as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual particles and carbon filter for smells.

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

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others work with all brands. Orangutan Home Services can help you determine what will work best for your family.

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

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Gives filtration for your total home, not only one area
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can result in respiratory inflammation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Orangutan Home Services are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the best solution for your budget. Contact us at 602-906-0111 right away to request your appointment.

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