Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Belleville home, HEPA filters are a great approach to improve the air your family breathes.

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

On account of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and may restrict airflow in some home comfort equipment. It’s critical to contact a heating and cooling pro like D & K Heating Service Experts before installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s discuss whether you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were primarily produced to protect scientists from radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that traps many pollutants. In modern times, these filters are typically installed in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you made an attempt to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have trouble getting ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more effective the filter is at capturing microscopic particles.

Here’s how typical household filters stack up:

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

Greater ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like D & K Heating Service Experts first to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are commonly used in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This unit is placed inside your ductwork and filters alongside your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably wipe out select viruses in residences under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most offensive scents, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different styles that work in partnership with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system is most effective, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as little as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

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 just the filter and might come with carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are created to work with specific brands, while others work with all brands. D & K Heating Service Experts can help you decide what will work best for your family.

Here are a couple of features to check for when considering a filtration system for your house:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your total home, not only a single area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which could result in respiratory inflammation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at D & K Heating Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work with you to help you find the best solution for your family. Contact us at 613-707-2421 right away to book your appointment.

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