When it comes to air filters, the higher the MERV rating, the better the air quality. But is a MERV 10 filter too restrictive for your home? Let's take a look at the details of why a high-efficiency furnace filter might not be the best choice for your HVAC system. The short answer is that it can be, but it's not usually a problem unless you're in an extreme situation. Most modern HVAC systems have no problem working with higher MERV filters, so millions of homeowners rely on them.
The main risk of high-efficiency air filters comes from the fact that they are not changed often enough. If you're diligent about changing your filters regularly, you're unlikely to experience any issues with your HVAC system. A MERV rating of 13-16 is considered hospital-level air quality, so your home is unlikely to need more than that. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, filters in the 7-13 range often have little difference from higher MERV ratings, but they will allow your system to operate much more efficiently.
Although the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggests MERV 13, it may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems. In fact, MERV 11 may even be too restrictive. 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. When installing an air filter with a high MERV rating, two things happen.
First, the air becomes cleaner, which can help improve the longevity of your HVAC system. The more particles are trapped, the less they stick to the inside of the vent and the better the air flow. A MERV 11 air filter has a higher efficiency rating; that is, it can capture finer particles and remove more pollutants from the air. But is a MERV 11 filter too restrictive for your needs? 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. If someone has an allergy or respiratory problem, use a MERV 11 air filter or even a MERV 13 air filter. Air filters that are MERV 13 and above are recommended for those who prioritize air quality and may have to handle asthma, severe allergies and other similar circumstances. Also, if you're trying this modification of the MERV13 filter yourself, make sure to change out multiple filter discs after each exposure to several people. The pressure drop lies in achieving the highest possible pleat per foot, and modern designs have far fewer airflow problems at higher MERV levels. Keep in mind that as the MERV rating increases, the filter becomes more restrictive and more pressure and energy will be needed to exhaust air.
A higher MERV rating often means lower airflow, which can cause the system to work harder and use more energy to do its job. Merv 8 air filters are almost as affordable as less efficient products, making them good value for money. If your family has allergic reactions or respiratory problems and you want a powerful MERV air filter, look for a home air filtration solution that can meet your needs. I just published a new article on using high-performance HVAC filters in homemade coronavirus masks. Each air filter has its advantages and disadvantages, but both Merv 8 air filters and MERV 11 air filters are suitable for residential use. Replacements for thicker (two to five inch) 11+ pleated MERV filters that require an air handler compatible frame (see photo) must follow the manufacturer's recommendations because a thinner, cheaper filter will not fit properly and therefore won't work. This comparison chart helps highlight the differences between Merv 8 and Merv 11 filters to make it easier to decide which one will work best. Many people don't consider how a filter with a high MERV rating will affect other parts of the HVAC system.