Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Indianapolis house, HEPA filters are a easy method to freshen the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold measure for air filtration. These filters are typically in use in medical settings, as they filter at baseline 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic particles from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and may reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling pro like Broad Ripple Service Experts in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss 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 primarily produced to defend scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from very thin mesh that catches most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are typically seen in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have trouble getting adequate 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 graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more efficient the filter is at trapping tiny substances.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Broad Ripple Service Experts beforehand to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed inside your ductwork and runs in partnership with your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably wipe out some viruses in homes under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most offensive odors, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different solutions that function alongside 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 little as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for scents.

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 might come with carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are created to work with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Broad Ripple Service Experts can help you determine what will give you the best results for your home.

Here are a couple of components to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your residence:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your total residence, not just one space
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might create respiratory sensitivity
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Broad Ripple Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort matters to us, so we’ll work with you to help you find the right solution for your home. Contact us at 317-527-0271 now to schedule your appointment.

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