Are High MERV Filters Worth It?

When it comes to air quality, higher MERV ratings are the most effective. However, they can also cause damage to your HVAC system. A higher MERV rating means greater resistance, which translates to less airflow. When researching HVAC systems, you'll notice that airflow increases significantly.

Generally speaking, filters with higher MERV ratings capture higher percentages of particles, as well as smaller particles. MERV-13 is usually the ideal rating. The short answer is yes, but it's not really a problem, except in extreme cases. Most modern HVAC systems have no problem working with higher MERV filters, which is why millions of homeowners rely on them.

The main risk of high-efficiency air filters comes from the fact that they are not modified for long periods of time. If you keep up with changing filters, you won't experience any filter-related issues with your HVAC system. Using an air filter with a MERV rating that is too high is just as bad as using one that is too low. Air filters with higher MERV ratings can filter more, but the thickness of the filter material can restrict airflow. 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.

Typically, 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. MERV ratings determine the capabilities of an air filter and its level of filtration efficiency. One thing to keep in mind is that a MERV 11 air filter may need to be changed more frequently than a MERV 8 air filter. Ironically, the effectiveness of low-efficiency air filters increases as the filter becomes loaded with dirt and dust.

It's important to consult with a professional and make sure you get the right air filter for your home. Generally speaking, anything under a MERV 13 air filter should provide very efficient air purification in a home without affecting airflow. There is another mask from the health system that is also trying a face seal, but I can't find the link buried in everything I've collected. There's this one interesting one who thinks it provides a seal made entirely of a vacuum HEPA filter bag. I have two identical sizes I have two identical size 3M MERV12 filter filters in my bank. Second, eventually, the filter can become so dirty that the system experiences a pressure drop that can burn the fan motor. An air filter with a higher MERV rating can block microscopic particles, such as smoke molecules, due to its tighter mesh fabric.

And residential HVAC system design is not suitable for ultrafine particles or filtering to cleanroom standards. At the end of the day, the most expensive air filter may seem like an extravagance but it's actually essential for your health and safety. However, older units may not be able to generate enough air pressure to force air through a higher efficiency filter. A MERV 11 filter only needs to stop 20% of particles at 0.3 to 1.0 microns (three to ten times larger than a COVID-19 particle), a MERV 12 only needs to stop 35% of particles below 0.3 microns and a MERV 13 only needs to stop half. I would like someone to answer if using these filters as breathing masks is also an option.

Willis Diruzzo
Willis Diruzzo

Typical sushi enthusiast. Infuriatingly humble music geek. Typical internetaholic. Subtly charming social media maven. Lifelong bacon buff.