Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Savannah residence, HEPA filters are a effective method to improve the air your family breathes.

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

Because of their strong filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and may restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling professional like Coastal Service Experts prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review if you can add HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA filters were primarily made to defend scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use very thin mesh that captures many substances. In modern times, these filters are typically used in medical centers, science labs and even homes.

If you made an attempt to install a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have trouble getting enough air from your vents. This is since your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are classified by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more effective the filter is at capturing tiny substances.

Here’s how standard household filters rank:

  • Flat filters—MERV 5. Captures 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.

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

Generally, the largest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Coastal Service Experts prior to prevent damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are often part of an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is placed inside your ductwork and runs with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some types of these systems come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to dependably destroy certain viruses in homes under particular airflow circumstances. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most pungent odors, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence

There are a couple of different options that work in partnership 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 particles as miniscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for big particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for smells.

Air purification systems are often the full package, with a hospital-grade MERV 16 filter, germicidal lights and carbon filters. A media air cleaner is only the filter and might offer carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are created to work with certain brands, while others work with all brands. Coastal Service Experts can help you decide what will work best in your situation.

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

  • Offers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Traps particles, bioaerosols and odors
  • Delivers filtration for your complete residence, not merely a single area
  • Doesn’t create ozone, which can create respiratory irritation
  • Functions with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to enhance the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Coastal Service Experts are here to help with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work with you to help you discover the right solution for your home. Contact us at 912-208-2399 now to schedule your appointment.

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