Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Clearwater residence, HEPA filters are a easy way to freshen the air your family breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard for air filtration. These filters are often used in hospitals, as they remove at least 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their powerful filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are deep and can reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Midway Services before installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss if you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA filters were primarily produced to protect scientists from radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that traps many contaminants. Today, these filters are often installed in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you tried to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble receiving enough air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more effective the filter is at catching microscopic substances.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

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

Higher ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Midway Services prior to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are commonly used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed in your ductwork and operates in partnership with your HVAC system.

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

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are several different solutions that work 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 contaminants as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

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 just the filter and can offer carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are created to work with distinct brands, while others work with all brands. Midway Services can help you decide what will work best in your situation.

Here are a few things to look for when buying a filtration system for your home:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Provides filtration for your complete house, not only one room
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which might create respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Midway Services are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work as a team to help you find the right solution for your home. Contact us at 727-219-2471 today to request your appointment.

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