Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System? 

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

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

On account of their outstanding filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are dense and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to contact a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s go over whether you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that captures most pollutants. Today, these filters are often installed in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have problems having ample air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

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 substances.

Here’s how common household filters are categorized:

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

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

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing first to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are frequently installed in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured in your ductwork and purifies 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 destroy select viruses in houses under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of the majority of offensive smells, like cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

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

A HEPA filtration system is most effective, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as minuscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual 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 is only the filter and might have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are designed to work with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you determine what will give you the best results in your situation.

Here are several features to check for when buying a filtration system for your home:

    • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Traps pollutants, bioaerosols and scents
    • Provides filtration for your complete home, not just a lone room
    • Doesn’t create ozone, which may create respiratory inflammation

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 provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the right solution for your needs. Contact us at 866-397-3787 right away to request your appointment.

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