Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Edmonton home, HEPA filters are a easy method to improve the air your household breathes.

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

Due to their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and could restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling pro like Rob's Albertan Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s review 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 initially designed to defend scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that traps many contaminants. In modern times, these filters are typically installed in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have issues receiving enough air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at catching small substances.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

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

Generally, the highest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Rob's Albertan Service Experts first to avoid damaging your furnace.

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

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably eliminate select viruses in houses under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most pungent smells, including cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different options that work with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants 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 contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are often the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and might have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Rob's Albertan Service Experts can help you determine what will give you the best results in your situation.

Here are several things to check for when buying a filtration system for your residence:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your total house, not just a single room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to increase the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Rob's Albertan 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 with you to help you find the right solution for your needs. Contact us at 780-800-9047 right away to get your appointment.

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