Do HEPA Filters Go with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Hilton Head Island home, HEPA filters are a simple method to purify the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard for air filtration. These filters are typically in use in medical centers, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to talk to a heating and cooling Expert like Epperson Service Experts before installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether or not you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally made to protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that captures many substances. Now, these filters are often seen in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you tried to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have problems receiving 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 Use?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the better the filter is at trapping microscopic pollutants.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

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

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

In most cases, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise consulting with a heating and cooling company like Epperson Service Experts first to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are often used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured inside your ductwork and runs alongside your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some types of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out select viruses in homes under specific airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most offensive scents, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are several different styles that function in partnership 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 particles down to .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover 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 only the filter and can offer carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are created to work with distinct brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Epperson Service Experts can help you determine what will give you the best results for your family.

Here are several components to look for when buying a filtration system for your residence:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes pollutants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your total residence, not just a single area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which could create respiratory sensitivity
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Epperson Service Experts are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you find the right solution for your needs. Contact us at 843-619-3781 right away to get your appointment.

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