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 way to improve the air your household breathes.

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

Because of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and may restrict airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s essential to contact a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing in advance of installing one to prevent damage to 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 Filter Air?

HEPA furnace filters were originally made to defend scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that captures most pollutants. In modern times, these filters are often installed in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

If you made an attempt to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have problems having enough air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at trapping microscopic substances.

Here’s how standard household filters are categorized:

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

Higher ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the highest rating you can safely have 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 homes are commonly installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured inside your ductwork and works alongside your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some types of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently wipe out some viruses in residences under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most offensive odors, including cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different solutions that operate alongside your HVAC system—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 often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are usually the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is only the filter and might come with carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you decide what will work best for your home.

Here are several things to be on the lookout for when getting a filtration system for your family:

    • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and odors
    • Delivers filtration for your total residence, not merely a single area
    • Doesn’t make ozone, which could create respiratory irritation

If you’re looking to increase the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work with you to help you find the best solution for your family. Contact us at 866-397-3787 now to schedule your appointment.

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