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Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

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

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top standard for air filtration. These filters are typically installed in medical settings, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic pollutants from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are thick and might reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s critical to call a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s review if you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were primarily designed to defend scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use very thin mesh that catches many contaminants. In modern times, these filters are frequently installed in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to use 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 designed to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

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

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

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

Greater ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we advise asking a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are often part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed inside your ductwork and filters in partnership with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate certain viruses in houses under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most offensive smells, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are several different styles that work alongside 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 particles down to .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining particles and carbon filter for smells.

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

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

Here are a few things to check for when considering a filtration system for your family:

    • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Removes particles, bioaerosols and smells
    • Gives filtration for your whole home, not merely one space
    • Doesn’t create ozone, which can result in respiratory sensitivity

If you’re looking to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, 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 matters to us, so we’ll work with you to help you choose the best solution for your needs. Contact us at 866-397-3787 right away to schedule your appointment.

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