Can You Install HEPA Filters in Your HVAC System? 

If you’re worried about the indoor air quality in your San Antonio house, HEPA filters are a great method to enhance the air your household breathes. 

HEPA, or high-efficiency particulate air, is the top benchmark for air filtration. These filters are often installed in hospitals, as they filter at minimum 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These filters can trap microscopic particles from the air such as mold, dust and pet dander. 

Because of their powerful filtration performance, HEPA filters are thick and may reduce airflow in some home comfort units. It’s essential to call a heating and cooling Expert like Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air in advance of installing one to prevent damage to your furnace. So, let’s review if you can install HEPA filters in your HVAC system. 

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

HEPA furnace filters were originally made to safeguard scientists against radiation as they created the atomic bomb during World War II. These fiberglass filters use intricate mesh that traps the majority of substances. In modern times, these filters are often used in medical centers, science labs and even residences. 

If you attempted to use a HEPA filter in your furnace, you’d more than likely have trouble receiving ample air from your vents. This is because your furnace’s blower motor isn’t made to work with such a thick filter. 

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Work With? 

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

Here’s how typical household filters stack up: 

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

Greater ratings, such as MERV 14-20, are installed in commercial and medical centers. A HEPA filter commonly ranks at MERV 17-20. 

Normally, the highest rating you can safely use in your furnace is MERV 13, but we suggest asking a heating and cooling company like Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air beforehand to prevent damage to your furnace. 

HEPA filters in homes are often installed in a stand-alone whole-home air filtration system. This unit is installed inside your ductwork and runs with your HVAC system. 

To enhance filtration power, some types of these systems include UV germicidal lights and activated carbon filters. Germicidal lights have been shown to consistently destroy some viruses in residences under certain airflow situations. And activated carbon filters can get rid of most offensive scents, such as cooking scents or tobacco smoke. 

What to Look for in a HEPA Filter for Your Residence 

There are a few different solutions that operate 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 pollutants as small as .3 micron. These filtration systems often have a combined filtration process, with a prefilter for larger particles, MERV 17 filter for the leftover pollutants and carbon filter for scents. 

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 have carbon filtration upgrades. 

Some of these systems are compatible with distinct brands, while others work with all brands. Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air can help you decide what will provide you the best results for your home. 

Here are a few components to check for when getting a filtration system for your house: 

  • Provides hospital-grade filtration (MERV 16 and up) 
  • Removes pollutants, bioaerosols and scents 
  • Delivers filtration for your complete house, not merely a single space 
  • Doesn’t produce ozone, which may create respiratory sensitivity 
  • Works with smart thermostats 

If you’re looking to enhance the indoor air quality in your house, the Experts at Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air 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 choose the best solution for your home. Contact us at 210-404-4233 now to get your appointment. 

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