The Difference Between HVAC and HEPA Filters

HVAC filters trap larger particles as air passes through while HEPA filters trap at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. Learn more about their differences.

The Difference Between HVAC and HEPA Filters

When it comes to air filtration, there are two main types of filters: HVAC and HEPA. While both are designed to remove impurities from the air, they have different functions and capabilities. HVAC filters are designed to trap larger particles as air passes through the unit's main ventilation area, removing smaller particles and leaving large amounts of dirty air. On the other hand, HEPA filters are the gold benchmark for air filtration, trapping at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

These filters can remove microscopic substances from the air, such as mold, dust and pet dander. It's rare and it's generally not recommended to use a HEPA filter in a traditional home air conditioning system. There are a few homes that have been built to fit your use, however, a typical home air conditioning system would require expensive modifications to manage the installation of a true HEPA system. It would be necessary to redesign the entire air conditioning system, the typical ducts of the household air conditioning system, and the air controller could not withstand the greater resistance to airflow of a HEPA filter.

Not to mention that the cost and size of HEPA filters would be exorbitant. Your home's HVAC system is designed to move air throughout the house while heating or cooling it. Each air conditioning system is equipped with a filter that removes impurities and particles from the air. Considering how much time the average homeowner spends indoors, it's important to make sure you have the best filter in your HVAC system, not only for your comfort level but also for your health. There are several considerations when thinking about which one would work best with your HVAC or air purifier. There are a few different solutions that work with your HVAC unit: HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems, and multimedia air filters.

The filtration process occurs when used air is returned to the HVAC unit for conditioning and distribution again. Most heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have a HEPA filter at one end of the air duct. You can modify your HVAC system to fit a HEPA filter, but it's simply not a necessary modification to make your home's HVAC. Most residential air conditioning systems are not designed for use with HEPA filters because the filtration material is too dense and thick, and that restricts air flow. The condition of your air filter significantly influences the state of interior comfort and the performance of the entire air conditioning system. The HVAC filter and the HEPA filter are useful filtering equipment, but they have many differences in many ways.

If HVAC air filters used both HEPA-style material and an air purifier, they would restrict airflow in your home, causing abnormal wear and tear on your HVAC engine, resulting in higher maintenance costs. If air flow is restricted, the demand for heating and cooling in the property will increase, forcing utility bills to skyrocket and could cause damage to the entire HVAC system. This is because the higher the MERV air filter ratings, the more layers the filter will have, making your HVAC work harder.