When you need to improve your indoor air quality, investing in a good air filter is the way to go. During the pandemic, many homeowners and business owners have wondered whether HEPA and/or MERV 13 filters can protect them from airborne viruses as well as other pathogens and particles. Which is better for your needs? Read on to learn about the differences between HEPA vs. MERV 13 filters.
What are MERV 13 filters?
MERV is not a filter type—it’s a rating system that tells what size particles an air filter can trap. MERV 13 filters are a step up from the MERV 8 or 9 rating. A MERV 13 filter can capture less than 75 percent of air particles that are 0.3 to 1.0 micron in size. For reference, the coronavirus is 0.1 microns. Therefore, MERV 13 filters may be able to catch a lot of larger particulate matter, but they can’t protect you from bacteria and viruses.
What are HEPA filters?
HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air”—that is, these filters capture the tiniest airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria. HEPA filters have a MERV 17 rating, which means they can capture about 99.97 percent of air particles that are 0.3 to 1.0 micron in size. They will capture even more particles that are 0.3 microns and above. That’s why they’re often used in hospitals and other medical settings. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many commercial and industrial buildings have used them to keep workers and guests safe.
What to know about HEPA and MERV 13 filters
Many HVAC systems are not equipped to handle MERV 13 or HEPA filters. Existing HVAC systems may not be able to work with the finer filter—if it’s too hard to push air through the filter, the system will end up working overtime. This can burn out your HVAC unit and cause your energy bill to go up.
HEPA filters are especially unsuited for many existing HVAC units. If you want to install a HEPA filtration system, you’ll need to install a standalone unit or a portable HEPA unit. These special units have more powerful fans, which can handle the fine filters.
Which should I choose?
When you have to decide between MERV 13 vs. HEPA filters, it’s important to consider why you want to upgrade your system. If you own a commercial building, it’s probably prudent to install HEPA filters—scientists have warned that COVID-19 variants will likely continue to circulate among the population indefinitely. They’re a smart option for when you need to keep employees, clients and patrons safe.
If you’re considering finer filters for your home, or need a stopgap solution, standalone HEPA air purifiers or units can do the trick. Ask your HVAC contractors what they recommend to work with your existing HVAC unit.
Calaway Heating & Air Conditioning has been helping our customers control their climates since 1998. When you need expert advice on HEPA and MERV 13 filters, HVAC repairs and tune-ups, call us for an appointment.
Categorised in: Air Filter Replacement
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