Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Waukegan residence, HEPA filters are a great way to enhance the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are often used in medical settings, as they filter at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air including mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and could reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s important to call a heating and cooling professional like Robinson Service Experts prior to installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s discuss if you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were primarily designed to defend scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have intricate mesh that traps the majority of pollutants. Today, these filters are frequently installed in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

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

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are categorized by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at capturing small substances.

Here’s how typical household filters are categorized:

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

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

In most cases, the highest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest consulting with a heating and cooling company like Robinson Service Experts first to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are commonly installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed in your ductwork and works in partnership with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably eliminate certain viruses in homes under certain airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate the majority of strong odors, including cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a few different styles that function 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 contaminants as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover particles and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are typically 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 options.

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

Here are a couple of components to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your home:

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Delivers filtration for your complete house, not just one space
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which could cause respiratory irritation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Robinson Service Experts are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your loved ones’ comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you choose the right solution for your budget. Contact us at 847-306-8730 right away to book your appointment.