MERV 8 air filters are a popular choice for residential homes due to their affordability and above average air filtration capabilities. But is a MERV 8 rating enough? The answer is yes. A MERV 8 filter can stop mold spores, pollen, and most cleaning agents, making it a great option for average residential homes. However, individual circumstances may require a filter with a higher MERV rating.
If you or someone in your household smokes, you need more filtration than what a MERV 8 provides. MERV ratings are based on how well an air filter traps common air pollutants within specific size ranges. A higher MERV rating often means lower airflow, which can cause the system to work harder and use more energy to do its job. This means that things like pet dander, smoke, and some bacteria in the air are likely to pass through a MERV 8 filter.
Therefore, MERV 13 would be the highest we would recommend outside of doctors' offices and rooms designed for surgeries. If you're shopping in the United States, you've probably noticed that MERV 8 filters are the most common on the shelf. For most Canadian households, furnace filters with MERV ratings in this range are sufficient to filter a good majority of impurities in the air. The thickness of the filter material in a MERV 11 filter, for example, is greater than that of a MERV 8 filter.
For most homes and commercial buildings, filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 will filter the air sufficiently. The MERV rating is superior because it is the international standard and makes it easy to compare filters from different brands. If your home's HVAC system isn't capable of handling MERV 13, opt for a filter with the next highest possible rating. Filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 13 are usually high-end filters for household use or high-quality commercial filters.
A filter with a MERV rating of around 10 to 12 is enough to remove most allergy-causing particles from your home's air.