Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

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

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

On account of their strong filtration capabilities, HEPA filters are dense and could restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling Expert like Strand Brothers Service Experts prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were primarily produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that catches most pollutants. Today, these filters are often used in medical facilities, science labs and even residences.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have trouble receiving ample air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t designed to work with such a dense filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

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

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

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

Better ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are in use in commercial and medical facilities. A HEPA filter usually ranks at MERV 17-20.

In most cases, the largest rating you can safely have in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Strand Brothers Service Experts prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in homes are commonly installed in an independent whole-home air filtration system. This unit is secured inside your ductwork and purifies with your HVAC system.

To boost filtration power, some models of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably wipe out some viruses in houses under specific airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate many strong scents, including cooking odors or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a couple of different styles that operate alongside your HVAC equipment—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for pollutants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual particles and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are often the complete package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is just the filter and can offer carbon filtration upgrades.

Some of these systems are compatible with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Strand Brothers Service Experts can help you determine what will work best for your home.

Here are a couple of components to check for when considering a filtration system for your home:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Filters particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Delivers filtration for your whole residence, not merely a lone area
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which might cause respiratory sensitivity
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you want to boost the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Strand Brothers 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 discover the right solution for your family. Contact us at 512-596-1257 today to schedule your appointment.

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