Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your the U.S. residence, HEPA filters are a easy method to enhance the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold measure for air filtration. These filters are typically used in medical centers, as they remove at baseline 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic substances from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and could reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s important to call a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Purify Air?

HEPA furnace filters were originally made to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that captures most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are frequently installed in medical facilities, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues receiving adequate air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing tiny pollutants.

Here’s how common household filters stack up:

    • Flat filters—MERV 5. Traps pollen and dust mites.
    • Pleated filters—MERV 8. Captures pollen, dust mites and mold.
    • Box filters—MERV 13. Filters pollen, dust mites, mold and specific fumes.

Greater ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are typically installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed within your ductwork and operates with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate select viruses in homes under specific airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate the majority of strong odors, like cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a couple of different solutions that function alongside your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants down to .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are typically the total package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is only the filter and might offer carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are created to work with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you figure out what will work best for your home.

Here are several things to look for when considering a filtration system for your home:

    • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Captures particles, bioaerosols and odors
    • Gives filtration for your total home, not just a lone room
    • Doesn’t make ozone, which could result in respiratory sensitivity

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the right solution for your family. Contact us at 866-397-3787 now to book your appointment.

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