Can You Install 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 benchmark for air filtration. These filters are typically installed in hospitals, as they filter at minimum 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and might lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s critical to contact a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s go over whether you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were initially made to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that traps many pollutants. In modern times, these filters are often seen in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have issues receiving ample air from your vents. This is because 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 ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the greater the filter is at trapping tiny substances.

Here’s how standard household filters are categorized:

    • Flat filters—MERV 5. Filters 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.

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

Generally, the highest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are often installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured in your ductwork and operates in partnership with your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out some viruses in homes under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many offensive odors, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are several different styles that work with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

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

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

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

Here are a couple of components to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your family:

    • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Traps particles, bioaerosols and odors
    • Gives filtration for your whole residence, not only a single space
    • Doesn’t create ozone, which might create respiratory irritation

If you’re looking to enhance the indoor air quality in your home, 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 is our top priority, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the right solution for your home. Contact us at 866-397-3787 now to schedule your appointment.

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