Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Niagara Falls home, HEPA filters are a simple approach to improve the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak standard for air filtration. These filters are typically used in medical settings, as they filter 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.

As a result of their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and could restrict airflow in some home comfort units. It’s important to call a heating and cooling Expert like Niagara Home Services by Enercare in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review 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HEPA furnace filters were originally made to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have intricate mesh that traps many pollutants. In modern times, these filters are frequently seen in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you made an attempt to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have trouble having enough air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are classified 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 rank:

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

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

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Niagara Home Services by Enercare prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are often part of an independent whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured in your ductwork and filters with 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 reliably eliminate some viruses in houses under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of strong scents, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a couple of different options that work in partnership with 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 contaminants down to .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for odors.

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 can have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with distinct brands, while others can be used with all brands. Niagara Home Services by Enercare can help you decide what will provide you the best results for your family.

Here are several things to be on the lookout for when considering a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and smells
  • Gives filtration for your total residence, not just one room
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which could create respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Niagara Home Services by Enercare are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you discover the best solution for your budget. Contact us at 289-273-2229 today to book your appointment.