Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Livermore house, HEPA filters are a effective approach to freshen the air your family breathes.

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

Due to their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and might restrict airflow in some home comfort units. It’s critical to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning prior to installing one to avoid damage to 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 furnace filters were primarily made to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that captures the majority of contaminants. Today, these filters are typically seen in medical centers, science labs and even residences.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have trouble getting adequate air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

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

Here’s how typical household filters rank:

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Captures 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, ranging from MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20.

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend asking a heating and cooling company like Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning prior to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are often installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed in your ductwork and purifies alongside your HVAC system.

To enhance filtration power, some types of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably destroy certain viruses in residences under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out many pungent scents, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a couple of different solutions that function alongside 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 particles as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for large particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining pollutants 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 just the filter and might offer carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others can be used with all brands. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you decide what will provide you the best results in your situation.

Here are several things to look for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your complete residence, not just one space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which may cause respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you discover the ideal solution for your home. Contact us at 925-364-5427 today to request your appointment.

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