Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Tempe house, HEPA filters are a effective approach to enhance the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the gold standard for air filtration. These filters are often installed in medical settings, as they trap at minimum 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic substances from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

Because of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s crucial to call a heating and cooling professional like Bob Brown Service Experts prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that captures many pollutants. Today, these filters are typically seen in medical facilities, science labs and even houses.

If you made an attempt to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have issues having adequate air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the better the filter is at catching small substances.

Here’s how common household filters rank:

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Traps 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, such as 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 have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Bob Brown Service Experts first to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are frequently used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured in your ductwork and works in partnership with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some models of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably eliminate select viruses in homes under particular airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most strong odors, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a few different solutions that operate with 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 particles down to .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining pollutants and carbon filter for odors.

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 may offer carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are compatible with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Bob Brown Service Experts can help you determine what will give you the best results for your family.

Here are a couple of components to look for when buying a filtration system for your house:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Gives filtration for your total residence, not only a single area
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which could cause respiratory irritation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you want to improve the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Bob Brown Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you discover the right solution for your home. Contact us at 623-243-4517 today to book your appointment.

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