Are Higher MERV Filters Really Better?

When it comes to air quality, higher MERV ratings are often seen as the most effective option. But, what many people don't realize is that these higher ratings can actually damage your HVAC system. This is because a higher MERV rating means greater resistance, which in turn leads to less airflow. When researching HVAC systems, it's important to keep in mind that airflow will increase significantly with a higher MERV rating.

Generally speaking, filters with higher MERV ratings capture higher percentages of particles, as well as smaller particles. So, what's the best MERV rating for your home? Well, MERV-13 is usually the sweet spot. Using an air filter with a MERV rating that is too high is just as bad as using one that is too low. This is because air filters with higher MERV ratings can filter more, but the thickness of the filter material can restrict airflow.

This restricted airflow can decrease comfort, increase energy use, and accelerate wear and tear on HVAC components. In particular, using an air cleaner with a MERV rating that is too high can damage the compressor, heat exchanger, and air conditioner coil. It's also important to note that filters with higher MERV ratings are more expensive than lower rated filters. Plus, taller doesn't always mean better for homeowners.

In fact, MERV ratings greater than 16 are commonly used in specialized commercial environments where air filtration is essential, such as hospitals. It's also important to remember that a filter with a higher MERV rating will reduce airflow. However, there are many other factors at play here, such as the size of the filter and the type of fan motor in your HVAC system. The MERV rating system helps determine the capabilities of an air filter and its level of filtration efficiency.

For example, a MERV 13 filter is likely to help if the goal is to prevent droplets from passing through. This comparison table helps highlight the differences between the MERV 8 and MERV 11 filters to make it easier to decide which one works best for your home. The higher the filter rating, the smaller the particles it will capture and the higher the percentage of particles captured. Since the MERV rating system is standard across all filters, it makes it a little easier to compare filters with different MERV ratings. Low-efficiency filters are generally within MERV 1-4 and high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and later.

They also have an outer housing for a MERV 14 filter if you want to go even further in terms of filtration efficiency. A basic MERV 4 filter is probably the cheapest option available, but it won't trap certain small particles (such as dust mites and pet dander) that might be in your home. Meanwhile, air filters with a MERV 14 rating or higher are designed for commercial HVAC systems that can handle the coarsest filter material. In fact, even filters with high MERV ratings can be used in some systems with minimal pressure drop. So, while a MERV 11 air filter can filter a large percentage of fine particles, a MERV 8 air filter cannot. They may seem to be almost the same on paper but there are some key differences between them.

Lucille Boughman
Lucille Boughman

Incurable internet advocate. Extreme food practitioner. Friendly internet advocate. Subtly charming social mediaholic. Avid music trailblazer. Amateur web specialist.

Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *