Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your Cleveland home, HEPA filters are a great way to improve the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are typically installed in medical centers, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic substances from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

Due to their outstanding filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and might reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to talk to a heating and cooling Expert like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning prior to installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether or not you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that traps the majority of substances. Today, these filters are often installed in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have issues having ample air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at capturing microscopic substances.

Here’s how common household filters are categorized:

  • 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 used in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are often used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured within your ductwork and works in partnership with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some types of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in homes under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of strong smells, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different styles that function alongside 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 pollutants as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are typically the complete 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 compatible with specific brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you decide what will give you the best results for your family.

Here are a couple of components to be on the lookout for when considering a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your whole home, not only one room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which can cause respiratory sensitivity
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to boost the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort matters to us, so we’ll work together to help you choose the best solution for your needs. Contact us at 440-252-1375 today to schedule your appointment.

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