Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your the U.S. home, HEPA filters are a great approach to freshen the air your loved ones breathe. 

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold benchmark for air filtration. These filters are frequently in use in medical centers, as they trap at baseline 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air like mold, dust and pet dander. 

As a result of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and may lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system. 

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

HEPA furnace filters were initially produced to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps many substances. Today, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even residences. 

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues getting enough air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a dense filter. 

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With? 

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the greater the filter is at capturing tiny particles. 

Here’s how common household filters rank: 

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

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

Generally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to prevent damage to your furnace. 

HEPA filters in residential settings are often part of a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is secured within your ductwork and purifies with your HVAC system. 

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate select viruses in homes under certain airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of pungent smells, including cooking scents or tobacco smoke. 

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence 

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

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants as minuscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for scents. 

Air purification systems are often the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and can have carbon filtration upgrades. 

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others can be used with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you figure out what will give you the best results for your family. 

Here are a couple of components to check for when considering a filtration system for your house: 

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up) 
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and scents 
  • Provides filtration for your total house, not just one space 
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may result in respiratory sensitivity 
  • Compatible with smart thermostats 

If you’re looking to increase the indoor air quality in your house, 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 as a team to help you find the right solution for your budget. Contact us at 866-397-3787 today to schedule your appointment. 

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