How Would A Whole-House HEPA Filter Fit Your Home?

February 9, 2024

As high performance, whole-home HEPA air cleaners continue to gain interest from the homeowners that our team at Save Home Heat Company serves in the Denver-Boulder metro area, we’ll continue to provide helpful information about these products for our readers.

In this post, our hope is that a picture will be worth plenty of words, as we take a closer look at how a whole-home HEPA air filtration system connects to an existing furnace and ducting system, or how it can be employed in an independent indoor air quality (IAQ) system to complement homes that don’t have ducting.

So, without further ado…

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A Refresher on HEPA Air Filtration Systems

Lennox HEPA air filterA High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration system is an air cleaner that provides the highest level of air filtration currently available. Although fully tested and certified HEPA filters are most often used in high-tech (clean room), medical, and other commercial applications where the cleanest air achievable is desired, these products are also available for residential applications.

In whole-house installations, the HEPA filter elements are housed in an insulated, sturdy cabinet, along with a fan that’s dedicated to circulating air through the filter. This air filtration system is designed to be incorporated with a ducting system, typically employing an existing furnace or an air handler.

Save Home Heat is a Lennox Premier DealerOur team at Save Home Heat installs quality HEPA air filtration systems from Lennox, which are designed for whole-house applications or can be adapted to serve more limited, priority areas in your home. These HEPA systems are a great fit for many existing furnaces and, with a bit of HVAC expertise applied, can also be installed in homes that are served by products such as a hot water boiler or mini-split heat pumps.

The benefits of whole-home HEPA air filters include:

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  • The cleanest indoor air that an air filtration product can achieve
  • Highly effective at arresting dust, pollen, mold, and many other indoor air pollutants & allergens
  • Helps control triggers for asthma and other respiratory issues
  • Reduces a broad range of airborne viruses & bacteria, and helps reduce VOCs
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Helps improve efficiency and effectiveness of furnace and central AC systems
  • Helps reduce stress on furnace and AC equipment, promoting longer system life

How Do HEPA Air Filters Connect to Existing Furnace Systems?

The HEPA system, like all furnace filters, is connected to the return air duct that brings air from the house back to the furnace to be heated. However, because of the pressure drop (resistance to airflow) through a HEPA filter, the HEPA system is installed alongside the return duct instead of in-line with the return air. Think of the HEPA system as a bypass loop on the way back to the furnace, that pulls lots of air from the main return air duct, effectively filters it, and then returns that air back to the air stream before going through a standard filter and into the furnace.

typical HEPA installation with central furnace

The size of the round sheet metal bypass piping that connects the HEPA filter to the ducting system ranges from 8 to 10 inches in diameter on the inlet side to the filter housing, and 6 to 8 inches on the outlet side. This varies depending on the model of HEPA filter being installed; Lennox offers three models that cover a broad range of residential systems.

In cases where an air handler is being used instead of a furnace to distribute warm air around the home, such as a central heat pump system, the same ducting configuration described above would be appropriate.


Whole-House HEPA Filtration for Homes with No Ducting

Of course, homes that are heated by popular systems such as hot water boilers and mini-split heat pumps don’t have a ducting system that a whole-house HEPA filter can be connected to. But that’s not necessarily a deal breaker! In many cases, it may be possible to install a modest ducting system that’s ideal for whole-home IAQ products such as a HEPA filter and other upgrades.

independent HEPA system

Only a Modest Ducting System is Needed

When installing ducting for an independent, dedicated IAQ system, it’s not necessary to install an extensive, complex ducting system like the ones you see for homes that are heated by a furnace. Nothing on that scale is needed because heating isn’t part of the equation. Your IAQ goals can be achieved with a simpler, more scaled-back central ducting system. 

Our team at Save Home Heat Company is experienced and adept at designing these sorts of indoor air quality ducting systems and finding places in existing homes that don’t have ducting where this can work nicely. This can often be accomplished for whole-house applications, as well as for specific, priority rooms or areas in your home.

When is an Air Handler Needed for Your IAQ System?

Lennox HEPA air filter - 99.97% graphicWhen installing a new, whole-home HEPA filtration system in a home that doesn’t have an existing ducting system, an air handler is normally required to do the job of circulating air around the home, while the fan inside the HEPA cabinet is dedicated to circulating air thru the filter media, just as if it were installed with a furnace system.

For single-room or very limited area installations, on the other hand, it may be possible to simply rely on the fan in the HEPA unit to both circulate air around the room, as well as through the filter – but it’s very important to not ask the fan in the HEPA system to do more than it’s capable of. That’s where experts like our team at Save Home Heat can be relied on to make the right recommendation.


IAQ Products That Are a Great Complement for HEPA Filters

It’s not unusual when a homeowner discusses a whole-house HEPA filtration system with our team that the conversation also turns to other products that help improve the quality of the air you breathe in your home. When one of our customers invests in a HEPA system for their home in the Boulder-Denver metro area, the installation is often accompanied by a central humidifier and a central air purifier. It’s not a given, and our customers always make the final call. Our sales proces is always highly informative and low pressure.

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In some cases, an energy recovery ventilator (ERV) may even be part of the IAQ plan if the home is in need of an influx of fresh outside air in order to achieve good indoor air quality.

Whole-Home HEPA Air Filters in the Denver-Boulder Metro Area

Lennox 'Air is Life. Make it perfect' logoHEPA filters aren’t necessarily the best fit for everyone that our team at Save Home Heat Company serves in the Boulder-Denver area. Many important factors come into play when contemplating these sorts of upgrades. We always recommend taking the time to learn as much as you can, including projected annual maintenance costs. Ask lots of questions before making a purchasing decision.

For a highly informative, low-pressure, free install quote for a HEPA air filtration system tailored to your needs and your home – or for any other IAQ products you may be interested in – please reach out to our friendly team at Save Home Heat today.

Please contact me to schedule a quote for a whole-house HEPA filtration system!