Are HEPA Filters Suited for Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your San Antonio house, HEPA filters are a great method to enhance the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are typically used in medical centers, as they trap at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic pollutants from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and could lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were originally produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that captures many pollutants. In modern times, these filters are frequently seen in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you tried to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have problems getting 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 Use?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more effective the filter is at trapping tiny particles.

Here’s how common household filters stack up:

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

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

Normally, the highest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend asking a heating and cooling company like Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air first to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed within your ductwork and works in partnership with your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably destroy certain viruses in homes under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most strong scents, including cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different options that function alongside your HVAC equipment—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 multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are typically the total package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and might come with carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air can help you determine what will work best for your home.

Here are a few things to check for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your total home, not merely a lone space
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might cause respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you want to boost the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air are here to provide support 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 right solution for your budget. Contact us at 210-404-4233 today to request your appointment.