Can You Use HEPA Filters with Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Charlotte residence, HEPA filters are a great way to enhance the air your household breathes.

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the peak standard for air filtration. These filters are often used in medical centers, as they remove at minimum 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic pollutants from the air like mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their strong filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling pro like Komfort Air Service Experts before installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s go over if you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were primarily designed to defend scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters are made from fine mesh that catches many contaminants. Today, these filters are often seen in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you made an attempt to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d probably have trouble receiving enough air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at trapping small pollutants.

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. Filters pollen, dust mites, mold and specific fumes.

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

Normally, the largest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend asking a heating and cooling company like Komfort Air Service Experts prior to avoid damaging your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are frequently used in a separate whole-home air filtration system. This system is installed within your ductwork and runs in partnership with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, some models of these systems have UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy select viruses in houses under certain airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can wipe out most strong odors, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

There are a couple of different solutions that work alongside your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system provides the greatest effectiveness, with 99.97% efficiency for contaminants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a multistep filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining pollutants and carbon filter for odors.

Air purification systems are usually 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 add-ons.

Some of these systems are compatible with certain brands, while others are compatible with all brands. Komfort Air Service Experts can help you determine what will work best in your situation.

Here are several components to be on the lookout for when considering a filtration system for your house:

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes contaminants, bioaerosols and smells
  • Delivers filtration for your complete home, not only one area
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which could cause respiratory irritation
  • Works with smart thermostats

If you’re looking to boost the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Komfort Air 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 together to help you discover the ideal solution for your family. Contact us at 704-705-8135 right away to schedule your appointment.