Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Oklahoma City home, HEPA filters are a great method to freshen the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top measure for air filtration. These filters are typically in use in medical settings, as they filter at least 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

As a result of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and could reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s important to call a heating and cooling professional like Gordon's Service Experts prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s go over whether or not 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 made to protect scientists from radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that traps many contaminants. Today, these filters are frequently used in medical settings, science labs and even houses.

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d potentially have trouble having enough air from your vents. This is because 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 graded by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the better the filter is at catching microscopic substances.

Here’s how common 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 specific fumes.

Better ratings, ranging from MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter typically ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking a heating and cooling company like Gordon's Service Experts beforehand to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This equipment is installed within your ductwork and works 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 eliminate select viruses in houses under particular airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most pungent smells, like cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are several different solutions that work with your HVAC unit—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system delivers the highest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants down to .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a multiple-step filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the residual contaminants and carbon filter for scents.

Air purification systems are usually the total 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 add-ons.

Some of these systems are designed to work with specific brands, while others can be used with all brands. Gordon's Service Experts can help you determine what will work best for your family.

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

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Captures particles, bioaerosols and scents
  • Delivers filtration for your complete home, not just a single room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may result in respiratory inflammation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Gordon's Service Experts are here to provide support with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your family’s comfort is our top priority, so we’ll work with you to help you choose the best solution for your budget. Contact us at 405-432-2197 today to schedule your appointment.

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