HEPA air filters are designed dot remove the maximum amount of dust, pollen, and microorganisms from your home's air supply. Yet installing one of these filters in your HVAC system may or may not work out for the best. If you are considering switching to HEPA filters but would like to learn more about possible complicating factors, here are two important things to be aware of.
Bypass leakage is a phenomenon that can completely negate the benefits offered by a HEPA air filter. The idea here is quite simple: if the filter does not sit snugly enough inside of its housing, air will be able to leak around its sides. As a result, significant amounts of dust and other potential allergens will be able to enter your home's air supply--regardless of how effective of a filter you have.
Check your filter's mounting points to assess whether there are large gaps around the edges. If you are unsure what constitutes a significant gap, take a look instead at the return air plenum located beyond the filter. If you notice that debris has built up inside of the plenum, chances are the gaps around your filter are excessively large. Consult with an HVAC contractor about having gaskets installed around the filter to seal off any bypass leaks. Also plan to have your plenum--and your duct system--thoroughly cleaned.
Standard air filters are composed of paper, with relatively large pores. This allows them to trap the sorts of larger particles that create wear and lead to breakdowns within your HVAC system. Yet they are unable to filter tiny particles such as pet dander, pollen, and fungal spores. HEPA filters, on the other hand, are made out of dense layers of fiberglass, and are designed so that they can trap even the tiniest of particles.
Yet sometimes a HEPA filter can offer too much of a good thing. In other words, their density can sometimes reduce the flow rate of air moving through the system. This can have a huge impact on the efficiency of both your furnace and your air conditioner.
Before installing a HEPA filter in your HVAC system, it is important to consult with a professional contractor like Capital Heating & Cooling. They can help you establish the optimum rate of air flow through your system, measured in terms of cubic feet per minute. Likewise, they can measure the rate of flow with and without a HEPA filter installed. In this manner, you can determine whether or not this type of filter will end up having a net negative effect on your system's operation.