Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re thinking about the indoor air quality in your Birmingham residence, HEPA filters are a powerful way to enhance the air your family breathes.

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

Because of their powerful filtration efficiency, HEPA filters are dense and could restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to call a heating and cooling pro like Norrell Service Experts before installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review whether or not you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally produced to safeguard scientists against radiation as they worked on the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters have very thin mesh that catches the majority of substances. Now, these filters are typically installed in medical facilities, science labs and even residences.

If you made an attempt to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues getting ample air from your vents. This is due to the fact your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The greater the number, the more effective the filter is at catching small substances.

Here’s how standard household filters are categorized:

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

Better ratings, like MERV 14-20, are used in commercial and medical settings. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20.

Generally, the biggest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend checking with a heating and cooling company like Norrell Service Experts prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residential settings are commonly part of an independent whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured inside 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 consistently wipe out certain viruses in homes under specific airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can eliminate most strong odors, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Home

There are a few different styles that function with your HVAC system—HEPA filtration systems, air filtration systems and media air cleaners.

A HEPA filtration system is most effective, with 99.97% efficiency for particles as minuscule as .3 micron. These filtration systems typically have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the remaining contaminants and carbon filter for smells.

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 only the filter and might offer carbon filtration add-ons.

Some of these systems are created to work with specific brands, while others can be used with all brands. Norrell Service Experts can help you decide what will provide you the best results in your situation.

Here are a few things to be on the lookout for when buying a filtration system for your home:

    • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
    • Traps particles, bioaerosols and odors
    • Gives filtration for your whole residence, not only a lone room
    • Doesn’t create ozone, which might cause respiratory irritation

If you’re seeking to improve the indoor air quality in your residence, the Experts at Norrell Service Experts are here to assist you 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 205-267-0023 right away to schedule your appointment.

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