When it comes to air purification, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters have taken the world by storm. These purifying contraptions remove contaminants and clean air to medical-grade standards. They work by forcing air through a pleated sieve. Each layer catches particles of a different size, and most can trap 99% of fragments smaller than 0.3 microns. Almost all toxic microorganisms fall into this category, including bacteria and mold spores.
Determining Whether You Need a HEPA Filter
HEPA filters are especially useful for people with allergies. Dust mites, dander, smoke, and pollen are four of the biggest causes of allergy symptoms. A HEPA filter can easily catch all four of these, helping you breathe better every day.
They sound incredible, don’t they? In medical settings like hospitals, HEPA filters are nothing short of necessary. Reducing airborne bacteria and viruses keeps patients safe. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that this type of filter is suited for use in the average home.
Why Many Homes Shouldn’t Use HEPA Filters
To put it simply, most residential HVAC systems cannot handle a HEPA filter. The multiple dense layers greatly reduce the total airflow of the system. Imagine exhaling through a drinking straw. There would be a limit to the air that you could move, but it’s likely that you’d function just fine. Breathing out of a stirring straw, on the other hand, would be impossible. A HEPA filter does the same thing to your HVAC unit.
Even if the added pressure doesn’t cause failure within your HVAC, the resistance is going to affect your energy bills negatively. The system will waste more electricity fighting against the thick filter and less of it be producing a controlled temperature. Using a HEPA filter can make it increasingly harder to keep a comfortable environment.
A Healthy Air Alternative
If you need the benefits of a HEPA filter for your family but don’t want to risk damaging your HVAC system, there are other options. The most efficient choice is an external filter. This compromise allows you to enjoy cleaner air without added strain or energy loss.
An external HEPA filter is attached to your ductwork via a bypass duct. This smaller passage draws in air from the main duct with the help of a blower. That air is then ushered through the filter before it loops back into the main duct. This means that a percentage of the air is being cleaned to those higher standards constantly, but without smothering the rest of the unit.
This method is also a lt more cost-effective. HEPA filters are significantly more expensive than other types. When they attach externally, however, they only see a percentage of the airflow they would see if installed traditionally. Because they’re not worked as hard, you’ll be able to use the filter longer before it needs to be replaced, which will save you money and hassles.
Not sure which air filter is right for your home? Contact the HVAC experts at Ashworth Heating and Cooling. We would be happy to discuss your HVAC filter options to help you improve indoor air quality in your home.