Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Girard residence, HEPA filters are a powerful way to improve the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold benchmark for air filtration. These filters are frequently used in hospitals, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss if you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally produced to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have intricate mesh that captures many substances. In modern times, these filters are frequently used in medical centers, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues receiving enough 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 Use?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing tiny pollutants.

Here’s how common household filters are categorized:

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

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

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are typically installed in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed inside your ductwork and runs in partnership with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, these systems sometimes include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably destroy certain viruses in residences under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of many strong scents, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are several 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 particles as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining particles and carbon filter for scents.

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

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

Here are several features to check for when getting a filtration system for your family:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your whole house, not merely one space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which might result in respiratory irritation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to boost the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work with you to help you discover the best solution for your needs. Contact us at 330-269-7235 today to schedule your appointment.