Do HEPA Filters Work with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Kansas City home, HEPA filters are a effective approach to freshen the air your family breathes.

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

Because of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are dense and can reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling pro like Neal Harris Service Experts before installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA furnace filters were primarily made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that traps most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even residences.

If you made an attempt to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble receiving adequate air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the greater the filter is at capturing small particles.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

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

Generally, the highest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking a heating and cooling company like Neal Harris Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are often used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed in your ductwork and filters with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in residences under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of offensive scents, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

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

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

Air purification systems are typically 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 come with carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are created to work with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Neal Harris Service Experts can help you decide what will work best for your family.

Here are a couple of features to check for when considering a filtration system for your family:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes pollutants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your whole home, not merely a single room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may result in respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Neal Harris Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work as a team to help you discover the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 816-787-0500 today to schedule your appointment.

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