Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

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

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

Because of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and could reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss if you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system. 

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

HEPA furnace filters were primarily designed to protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have intricate mesh that captures many pollutants. In modern times, these filters are frequently installed in medical facilities, science labs and even houses. 

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble getting adequate air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a deep filter. 

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With? 

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more effective the filter is at catching microscopic pollutants. 

Here’s how standard household filters rank: 

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

Better ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20. 

In most cases, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing first to keep clear of damage to your furnace. 

HEPA filters in residential settings are typically used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is secured within your ductwork and works alongside 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 reliably wipe out select viruses in residences under specific airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many pungent scents, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke. 

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House 

There are a few different styles that operate with your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners. 

A HEPA filtration system is most effective, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining particles and carbon filter for smells. 

Air purification systems are typically the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and can offer carbon filtration options. 

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you figure out what will provide you the best results for your family. 

Here are a few things to check for when getting a filtration system for your house: 

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up) 
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and scents 
  • Provides filtration for your whole house, not only a lone area 
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity 
  • Functions with smart thermostats 

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

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