Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your the U.S. home, HEPA filters are a powerful method to enhance the air your household breathes.

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

On account of their powerful filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are deep and might reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s critical to call a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over whether you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally designed to protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that captures most contaminants. In modern times, these filters are often installed in medical facilities, science labs and even residences.

If you tried to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues receiving adequate air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at capturing tiny particles.

Here’s how standard 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. Filters pollen, dust mites, mold and some fumes.

Better ratings, like MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical settings. 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 recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are often used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed within your ductwork and filters in partnership with 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 certain viruses in houses under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most pungent scents, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are several different options 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 as minuscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual particles and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are usually the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is only the filter and may offer carbon filtration add-ons.

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

Here are several features to look for when getting a filtration system for your family:

    • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Filters pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
    • Gives filtration for your whole house, not merely a lone room
    • Doesn’t make ozone, which might cause respiratory irritation

If you’re looking to improve 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 family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you discover the best solution for your budget. Contact us at 866-397-3787 right away to get your appointment.