Can You Add HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System?

If you’re concerned about the indoor air quality in your Long Island home, 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 frequently in use in hospitals, as they trap at baseline 99.97% of particles as little as 0.3 microns. These filters can capture microscopic substances from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander.

On account of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and might restrict airflow in some home comfort systems. It’s important to contact a heating and cooling Expert like Matz-Rightway prior to installing one to avoid damaging your furnace. So, let’s review whether you can use HEPA filters in your HVAC system.

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally designed to safeguard scientists against radiation as they developed the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use fine mesh that catches the majority of contaminants. Now, these filters are often seen in medical settings, science labs and even residences.

If you attempted to have a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d possibly have issues receiving adequate air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t engineered to work with such a deep filter.

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Use?

Filters are ranked by their MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The bigger the number, the more efficient the filter is at catching tiny substances.

Here’s how common household filters stack up:

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

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

In most cases, the largest rating you can safely install in your furnace is MERV 13, but we recommend consulting with a heating and cooling company like Matz-Rightway prior to keep clear of damage to your furnace.

HEPA filters in residences are typically used in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This system is secured inside your ductwork and operates with your HVAC system.

To improve filtration power, these systems sometimes come with UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to reliably destroy some viruses in residences under particular airflow conditions. And activated carbon filters can eliminate many offensive odors, such as cooking smells or tobacco smoke.

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your House

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

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

Air purification systems are often 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 have carbon filtration options.

Some of these systems are created to work with specific brands, while others work with all brands. Matz-Rightway can help you figure out what will give you the best results in your situation.

Here are a few components to look for when getting a filtration system for your residence:

  • Delivers hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up)
  • Removes particles, bioaerosols and smells
  • Gives filtration for your complete residence, not just a single room
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which might create respiratory irritation
  • Compatible with smart thermostats

If you want to enhance the indoor air quality in your home, the Experts at Matz-Rightway are here to assist you with a free, no-obligation home comfort assessment. Your household’s comfort is important to us, so we’ll work together to help you find the best solution for your needs. Contact us at 631-406-9220 right away to get your appointment.

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