Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System? 

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

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold measure for air filtration. These filters are typically used in medical settings, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and can restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to call a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing before installing one to prevent 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HEPA furnace filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from intricate mesh that catches most pollutants. Today, these filters are often seen in medical facilities, science labs and even residences.

If you tried to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble getting ample air from your vents. This is due to the fact 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 greater the filter is at trapping tiny substances.

Here’s how common household filters stack up:

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

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

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

HEPA filters in residential settings are frequently used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured in your ductwork and runs alongside your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate some viruses in residences under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most offensive scents, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different solutions that operate alongside 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 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 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 can come with carbon filtration add-ons.

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

Here are a couple of components to check for when considering a filtration system for your family:

    • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Traps particles, bioaerosols and odors
    • Delivers filtration for your complete house, not only a single area
    • Doesn’t produce ozone, which could result in respiratory sensitivity

If you’re looking to improve 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 right solution for your needs. Contact us at 866-397-3787 right away to get your appointment.

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