Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System? 

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

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

On account of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and might restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review if you can install 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HEPA furnace filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II.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 have intricate mesh that traps most substances. Today, these filters are often used in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you tried to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have trouble receiving enough air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

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

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

    • Flat filters—MERV 5. Traps 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.

Greater ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently installed in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured within your ductwork and works alongside your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, these systems sometimes include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate certain viruses in houses under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many pungent scents, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

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 provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are often the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner includes the filter and can have carbon filtration add-ons.

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

Here are a few features to check for when considering a filtration system for your home:

    • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Filters particles, bioaerosols and odors
    • Delivers filtration for your total house, not merely a single area
    • Doesn’t create ozone, which may create respiratory irritation

If you’re seeking 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 household’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the best solution for your family. Contact us at 866-397-3787 now to get your appointment.

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