Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your the U.S. residence, HEPA filters are a simple approach to purify the air your loved ones breathe. 

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

On account of their powerful filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and could lower airflow in some home comfort units. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to 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 Work? 

HEPA furnace filters were originally designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that traps the majority of substances. Today, these filters are typically used in medical centers, science labs and even homes. 

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues 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 classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at trapping microscopic substances. 

Here’s how common household filters stack up: 

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Captures 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. 

Higher ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20. 

Generally, the highest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise asking a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace. 

HEPA filters in residences are commonly part of a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed within your ductwork and purifies with your HVAC system. 

To enhance filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably wipe out select viruses in residences under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most strong scents, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke. 

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House 

There are a couple of different options that work alongside your HVAC unit—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 minuscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for odors. 

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

Some of these systems are designed to work with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you decide what will give you the best results in your situation. 

Here are a few components to look for when getting a filtration system for your home: 

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up) 
  • Traps pollutants, bioaerosols and odors 
  • Delivers filtration for your complete home, not just one space 
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may result in respiratory sensitivity 
  • Functions with smart thermostats 

If you’re seeking to increase 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 household’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you discover the best solution for your family. Contact us at 866-397-3787 today to book your appointment. 

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