Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System? 

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

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak measure for air filtration. These filters are frequently installed in medical settings, as they remove at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic particles from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and may restrict airflow in some home comfort units. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling pro like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing in advance of installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA furnace filters were primarily produced to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that captures many pollutants. Now, these filters are often installed in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you made an attempt to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have problems having adequate air from your vents. This is due to the fact 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 higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at trapping tiny substances.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

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

Better ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

Normally, the highest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing first to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured in your ductwork and runs with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in residences under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many pungent smells, like cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a couple of different styles that operate in partnership with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as minuscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

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

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others can be used with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you decide what will work best 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)
    • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
    • Delivers filtration for your whole residence, not just one space
    • Doesn’t produce ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity

If you want to increase the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you find the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 866-397-3787 today to request your appointment.

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