Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Atlanta home, HEPA filters are a great way to improve the air your household breathes.

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

As a result of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and could lower airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling Expert like Peachtree Service Experts prior to installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over if you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that captures most substances. Today, these filters are typically seen in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues getting 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 Work With?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the better the filter is at capturing small pollutants.

Here’s how typical 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 some fumes.

Better ratings, like MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise consulting with a heating and cooling company like Peachtree Service Experts beforehand to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are often part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured inside your ductwork and works with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some models of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably wipe out certain viruses in residences under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most strong smells, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are several different solutions that function 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 contaminants as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual particles and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are often the complete 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 upgrades.

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Peachtree Service Experts can help you decide what will give you the best results in your situation.

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

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Delivers filtration for your total residence, not just a lone area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which can cause respiratory irritation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Peachtree Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work with you to help you choose the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 678-235-9699 today to schedule your appointment.

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