Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Alliance residence, HEPA filters are a easy way to purify the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top measure for air filtration. These filters are often used in hospitals, as they filter at baseline 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can remove microscopic pollutants from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are dense and may reduce airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s crucial to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning before installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over if you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA furnace filters were initially produced to protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that traps most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are often seen in medical centers, science labs and even residences.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues receiving enough air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick 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 greater the filter is at capturing microscopic particles.

Here’s how standard 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. Captures pollen, dust mites, mold and specific fumes.

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

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

HEPA filters in residential settings are typically installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is secured within your ductwork and operates with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, these systems sometimes include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out certain viruses in houses under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many strong scents, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different solutions that operate in partnership with your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for particles down to .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual 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 designed to work with distinct brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you determine what will provide you the best results for your family.

Here are a few features to check for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Delivers filtration for your total house, not merely one room
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which may create respiratory sensitivity
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the ideal solution for your needs. Contact us at 330-235-1260 today to request your appointment.