Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your London residence, HEPA filters are a great way to freshen the air your loved ones breathe.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak standard for air filtration. These filters are typically in use in medical settings, as they remove at baseline 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their outstanding filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are thick and may reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to talk to a heating and cooling Expert like Roy Inch & Sons Home Services by Enercare prior to installing one to avoid 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 protect scientists from radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have fine mesh that captures many contaminants. Today, these filters are often used in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have problems receiving adequate air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at catching microscopic pollutants.

Here’s how common household filters stack up:

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Filters pollen and dust mites.
  • Pleated filters—MERV 8. Captures 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 installed in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

Normally, the largest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Roy Inch & Sons Home Services by Enercare first to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are commonly part of a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured in your ductwork and filters in partnership with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some types of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably eliminate some viruses in residences under particular airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most pungent scents, like cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a couple of different options that function alongside your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are typically 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 have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Roy Inch & Sons Home Services by Enercare can help you determine what will work best in your situation.

Here are a couple of components to check for when getting a filtration system for your house:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures pollutants, bioaerosols and odors
  • Provides filtration for your complete residence, not merely one area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which can result in respiratory inflammation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Roy Inch & Sons Home Services by Enercare 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 with you to help you find the best solution for your needs. Contact us at 226-270-1164 now to get your appointment.