Does a MERV 13 Filter Make a Difference?

A MERV 13 filter is a great choice for improving air quality in your home. It captures more particulates than a typical MERV 8 filter, but it is not as effective at capturing small particles the size of a virus as a HEPA filter. A MERV 13 will trap less than 75% of air particles 0.3-1.0 microns in size, while the coronavirus is 0.1 microns. Generally, filters with higher MERV ratings capture higher percentages of particulates as well as smaller particles. MERV-13 is practically the highest rating you can get.

Filters with a MERV rating above 13 are tightly woven to capture potentially harmful contaminants, but this can make it difficult for air to circulate from your home to the unit. If you're unsure which MERV rated filter is best for your home, consult an HVAC expert who will guide you to the right selection. Vacuum bags are not safe for masks since they contain fiberglass, which is very bad for breathing. However, MERV air filters are made of polyester and cotton and should be safe. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) now encourages the switch to MERV-13 as a measure to provide cleaner air in non-sanitary facilities. Filters with the lowest MERV rating (1-), will still capture pollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers and carpet fibers.

Although ASHRAE suggests MERV 13, it may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems. When you have a filter from Merv 13 and above, it is more similar to the material you would find in an N95 dust mask. It is best to adhere to the oven manufacturer's recommendations or consult an HVAC professional to determine exactly which MERV rating is best for your specific system. MERV 13 filters also remove bacteria, tobacco smoke, car fumes, insecticide dust, pet dander and more. Filter technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and MERV ratings are designed to help us determine the most effective and efficient air filter options for heating and cooling systems and beyond. A MERV rating of 13 to 16 is considered hospital-level air quality, so your home is unlikely to need more than that.

Ductless heads do not have the ability to mount much pressure head and therefore it is best to look elsewhere for high-efficiency filtration such as plug-in HEPA cleaners or a dedicated ducted fan designed for use with a HEPA or MERV-13 filter.

AnnMarie Noland
AnnMarie Noland

Amateur coffee expert. Certified twitter enthusiast. Wannabe web aficionado. Certified web trailblazer. Proud twitter buff.

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