What is the Right Merv Rating for Your Home?

When it comes to air filters, the MERV rating is an important factor to consider. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and it is a measure of how effective a filter is at capturing particles from the air. Filters with a MERV rating of 17 to 20 are almost never needed in a residential home, as a rating of 13 to 16 is considered hospital-level air quality. Installing an air filter with a high MERV rating can help improve the longevity of your HVAC system, as more particles are trapped and less stick to the inside of the vent, resulting in better air flow.

A Merv 11 filter has a higher efficiency rating and can capture finer particles and remove more pollutants from the air. But is this too high for your needs? Not all filters have a Merv rating, and many are purchased at big box stores. If you own pets, you may need a MERV 10 filter to control their dander, which tends to have smaller particles than other contaminants. Choosing the right MERV rating is an important decision in terms of overall cost, air quality, and product durability.

A Merv 13 filter can remove bacteria, tobacco smoke, car fumes, insecticide dust, pet dander and more. Filter technology has advanced significantly over the years, and MERV ratings are designed to help us find the most effective and efficient air filter options for heating and cooling systems. In addition, a MERV 12 filter that is only 1 inch thick is likely to be more restrictive than a 4 inch thick MERV 12 filter. ASHRAE recommends MERV 13 and 14 filters for optimal performance, but it's best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific HVAC system.

Raising just three levels of MERV rating can be beneficial in terms of air quality or detrimental to the entire HVAC system when considering the MERV 8 vs. MERV 11 airflow capabilities. Air filters with a MERV rating of 14 or higher are designed for commercial HVAC systems that can handle the coarsest filter material. A higher MERV rating often means lower airflow, which can cause the system to work harder and use more energy to do its job.

One thing to keep in mind is that a MERV 11 air filter may need to be replaced more frequently than a MERV 8 air filter. Generally speaking, anything under a merv 13 air filter should provide very efficient air purification in a house without affecting airflow.


AnnMarie Noland
AnnMarie Noland

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

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