Air filter efficiency is measured by the minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV. This complex-sounding metric measures the effectiveness of your filter at removing particles from the air – the higher the number the better the job gets done. Regular air filters don't exceed 16 MERV, but high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters range from 17 to 20 MERV. HEPA filtration is more efficient at removing a wider range of particles from the air, including the very smallest ones.
HEPA filters remove particles from the air by passing it through a random arrangement of fibers. Larger particles become embedded in or get stuck on the fibers. Smaller particles get caught in this way as well, but it takes longer. They're kept in the filter long enough for this to occur due to collisions with other airborne molecules slowing their progress through.
Though they're the most efficient at capturing airborne particles, HEPA filters are less common in central residential heating and cooling systems, according to the EPA. Due to the physical dimensions of the HEPA filter and the increased resistance to airflow, they aren't easily accommodated by standard air handlers and ductwork. Before switching to a HEPA filter (or any other high-efficiency filter), be sure to check your furnace manufacturer's recommendations to ensure compatibility. See other blog posts about selecting the right filter for your home.
If your current heating and cooling system isn't up to the challenge of a HEPA filter, recent product developments now allow you further options. Retrofitting is one way to go, but you can also install a bypass HEPA filtration system. With this setup, the HEPA filtration unit is positioned parallel to the airstream, which allows a thorough cleaning without compromising system performance.
For more information on HEPA filtration, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've provided quality service to the Greater Cleveland area since 1936.Follow @PKwadsworth
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.