Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Pierre home, HEPA filters are a simple way to improve the air your family breathes.

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

On account of their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are deep and may lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Peitz Service Experts prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were initially produced to protect scientists from radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from very thin mesh that captures most pollutants. In modern times, these filters are often used in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you tried to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues having ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

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

Here’s how common household filters are categorized:

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Traps 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.

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

Generally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking a heating and cooling company like Peitz Service Experts beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are often used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured within your ductwork and purifies 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 eliminate certain viruses in houses under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of pungent scents, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are several different styles that work alongside your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are usually the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is only the filter and may offer carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Peitz Service Experts can help you decide what will give you the best results for your home.

Here are several components to check for when buying a filtration system for your family:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters contaminants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your complete home, not only one space
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which could cause respiratory sensitivity
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Peitz Service Experts are here to help 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 best solution for your budget. Contact us at 605-223-0307 today to get your appointment.

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