Many homeowners contemplate switching from lower quality air filters to high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters because they have the potential to improve indoor air quality.
How HEPA Filters Work
The way these filters work is no different than standard air filters, they just do it much better. They trap harmful micro-organisms like dust and mold, among other things, in a tight mesh. Upgrading to this kind of filter can reduce the chances of developing respiratory problems and reduce allergy symptoms. These filters can achieve almost perfect efficiency for particle removal, at levels of up to 99.97 percent. The problem is that they are not always an appropriate option for your home.
Filters and Your Furnace
The problem that often arises with HEPA filters is that not all furnaces can accommodate them. Because the mesh is so much finer than that of other filters, your furnace needs to have a larger fan or motor capacity to maintain airflow. While some modern furnaces are built with these filters in mind, most older ones are not suitable. You can check with your manufacturer to find out.
If you’re still set on using these more efficient filters, there are modifications you can make to your furnace. There are two main modifications needed in most cases. First the ductwork must be expanded to fit the extra size of the filter. Secondly, a higher capacity fan may have to be installed.
Should You Use HEPA Filters
In many cases HEPA filters may not be your best choice. If you have to make modifications to your furnace it will cost time and money to do so. Even then your furnace may be louder with the new upgrades, which may not be desirable.
Consulting with an HVAC professional is the best course of action. If you are concerned about indoor air quality there are other cleaning system options that may be able to do a similarly good job, not to mention that are cheaper or more practical. Contact Arpi’s Industries for advice about your Calgary home.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about HEPA and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock