Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your La Porte house, HEPA filters are a easy way to improve the air your household breathes.

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

Because of their outstanding filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and could reduce airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to talk to a heating and cooling professional like Finch Air Conditioning & Heating before installing one to avoid damage to your furnace. So, let’s review whether or not you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

What Is a HEPA Filter and How Does It Work?

HEPA filters were originally designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from intricate mesh that catches most contaminants. Today, these filters are frequently installed in medical settings, science labs and even homes.

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

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more effective the filter is at catching small particles.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

  • 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 specific fumes.

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

Normally, the biggest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest checking with a heating and cooling company like Finch Air Conditioning & Heating beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are frequently installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is placed inside your ductwork and filters in partnership with your HVAC system.

To increase filtration power, these systems sometimes have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently eliminate some viruses in houses under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most strong smells, like cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different styles that operate with 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 pollutants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems sometimes have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover contaminants 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 only the filter and can come with carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with certain brands, while others can be used with all brands. Finch Air Conditioning & Heating can help you figure out what will work best in your situation.

Here are a few things to look for when considering a filtration system for your home:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps contaminants, bioaerosols and scents
  • Provides filtration for your total house, not only a lone area
  • Doesn’t make ozone, which can create respiratory sensitivity
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re seeking to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Finch Air Conditioning & Heating are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort matters to us, so we’ll work as a team to help you choose the ideal solution for your needs. Contact us at 281-407-9478 right away to get your appointment.

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