Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System? 

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your the U.S. house, HEPA filters are a great method to enhance the air your household breathes. 

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are frequently installed in medical centers, as they filter at minimum 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander. 

Because of their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and may lower airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s essential to contact a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to 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 initially made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that traps the majority of pollutants. Now, these filters are typically installed in medical centers, science labs and even houses. 

If you attempted to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues receiving ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a dense filter. 

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With? 

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing small particles. 

Here’s how typical household filters rank: 

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

Greater ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical centers. 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 suggest asking a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace. 

HEPA filters in homes are often installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed inside your ductwork and runs with your HVAC system. 

To enhance filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy certain viruses in houses under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of many offensive scents, such as cooking odors or tobacco smoke. 

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House 

There are several different solutions that operate alongside your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners. 

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for smells. 

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 only the filter and might have carbon filtration add-ons. 

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

Here are several components to check for when getting a filtration system for your house: 

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up) 
  • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and scents 
  • Delivers filtration for your complete house, not merely a single space 
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which may create respiratory sensitivity 
  • Works with smart thermostats 

If you want to enhance 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 is our top priority, so we’ll work together to help you discover the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 866-397-3787 now to get your appointment. 

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