Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your the U.S. residence, HEPA filters are a powerful approach to freshen the air your household breathes.

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

Because of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and might restrict airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s critical to call a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing before installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether or not you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were primarily designed to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that catches many substances. In modern times, these filters are frequently installed in medical facilities, science labs and even residences.

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have issues having ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

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

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

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

Greater ratings, like 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 install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking 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 often used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed within your ductwork and runs alongside your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some types of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably eliminate some viruses in houses under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out the majority of strong smells, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different options that work alongside 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 particles as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover particles and carbon filter for scents.

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

Some of these systems are compatible 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 home.

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

    • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Captures contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
    • Provides filtration for your complete house, not just a single room
    • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might create respiratory sensitivity

If you’re seeking to boost the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 866-397-3787 today to request your appointment.

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