Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

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

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak measure for air filtration. These filters are often in use in hospitals, as they trap at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic substances from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander. 

On account of their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and might lower airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing in advance of installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system. 

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work? 

HEPA furnace filters were initially produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from intricate mesh that catches the majority of substances. Today, these filters are frequently installed in medical facilities, science labs and even houses. 

If you tried to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have trouble getting adequate 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 Work With? 

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more effective the filter is at trapping microscopic pollutants. 

Here’s how standard 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 certain fumes. 

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with 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 used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed inside your ductwork and purifies alongside your HVAC system. 

To enhance filtration power, these systems sometimes have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy some viruses in residences under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate many pungent scents, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke. 

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home 

There are a few different styles that operate with your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners. 

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining contaminants and carbon filter for odors. 

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

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

Here are a couple of features to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your residence: 

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up) 
  • Filters contaminants, bioaerosols and scents 
  • Delivers filtration for your complete home, not merely one area 
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which could cause respiratory sensitivity 
  • Works with smart thermostats 

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the right solution for your family. Contact us at 866-397-3787 today to request your appointment. 

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