What is the Best MERV Rating for Air Flow?

Air filters with a MERV rating of 13 or higher are recommended for those who prioritize air quality and may have to manage asthma, severe allergies, and other similar circumstances. A MERV rating is a great indicator of the effectiveness of an air filter in your central split HVAC system. The higher the rating, the better the filter. As the MERV rating increases, fewer and fewer contaminants and dust pass through the filter, resulting in better quality incoming airflow.

Based on these characteristics, a MERV 8 is considered superior filtration compared to air filters with a lower MERV rating. But is filtration enough? In many cases, a MERV 8 air filter is more than adequate. However, if you are concerned about outdoor air pollution, family members with respiratory problems, or pets in the house, then a higher MERV rating might be a good idea. Generally, a filter with a higher MERV rating will reduce airflow.

However, there are many other factors at play, such as the size of the filter and the type of fan motor in your HVAC system. Overall, our recommended MERV rating for oven filters ranges from 6 to 8 to strike a great balance between maximum oven efficiency and home comfort. A MERV 11 air filter can filter a large percentage of fine particles that a MERV 8 air filter cannot. Using an air filter with a MERV rating that is too high is just as bad as using one that is too low.

If the air cleaner is on the return grille inside your home, the arrow should point to the wall or ceiling. If you're new to selecting air filters and still not sure what the best option is despite the detailed explanation above, then in general, air filters with higher MERV ratings remove a higher percentage of contaminants in the air and therefore improve indoor air quality of your home. MERV was designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to evaluate the effectiveness of air filters. MERV 8 air filters are very common because they are quite a complete option and offer great value for money but may not be as effective as higher rated filters.

Choosing the right oven filter is based on balancing indoor air quality with the capabilities of your HVAC system. MERV 17 to MERV 20 filters are commonly used in operating rooms, cleanrooms, and other settings that require absolute cleanliness. For example, if an air filter can capture at least 20% of E1 particles, 65% of E2 and 85% of E3 particles, it will obtain a MERV 11 rating. If your family has allergy problems or severe respiratory problems such as asthma, you may want to invest in filters with higher MERV ratings.

Since using an air filter is not optional, you will need to find a filter that meets both your air filtration needs and your airflow requirements. They may seem to be almost the same but MERV 8 air filters and MERV 11 air filters have some differences between them. According to ASHRAE's website, its mission is to promote “the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration to serve humanity and promote a sustainable world”.The Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how effectively it prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through into the air stream.

Lucille Boughman
Lucille Boughman

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

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