The Surprising Benefits of Using a Higher MERV Rated Air Filter

Are you tired of constantly replacing your air filters and still not feeling like you're breathing clean air? It's time to consider upgrading to a higher MERV rated air filter. Not only will it significantly improve your indoor air quality, but it also comes with surprising benefits you may not have been aware of.

Higher MERV rated air filters can effectively capture smaller particles, including allergens and pollutants, that a lower MERV filter would miss. Not only does this reduce the amount of harmful particles you're breathing in, but it also leads to a cleaner home environment. This is particularly beneficial for those with allergies or respiratory issues, as cleaner air can lead to fewer symptoms and an overall better quality of life.

But the benefits don't stop there. A higher MERV rated air filter can actually improve the efficiency of your HVAC system, leading to lower energy costs and less strain on the equipment. Plus, with fewer particles circulating through the system, you may also notice less dust buildup on surfaces and in your ductwork.

Understanding the MERV Rating System

The MERV rating system is an industry-standard for measuring the efficiency of air filters. It ranges from 1 to 20, with higher ratings indicating better filtration capabilities.

Filters with low ratings, such as 1-4, are basic filters that only trap larger particles, such as dust and pollen. Filters with higher ratings, however, are capable of capturing smaller particles, such as smoke and bacteria.

It is important to note that while higher-rated filters offer better filtration capabilities, they can also restrict airflow if not maintained properly. It is recommended to consult with a professional to determine the optimal MERV rating for your specific needs and HVAC system.

Understanding the MERV rating system is crucial when selecting an air filter for your home or business. By choosing a filter with an appropriate rating, you can improve air quality and reduce the risk of health issues caused by airborne particles.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

Using a higher MERV rated air filter in your HVAC system can greatly improve the quality of indoor air. These filters are better equipped to capture smaller particles that can easily be missed by lower rated filters, such as bacteria and mold spores. By trapping these harmful particles, a higher MERV rated filter helps to ensure that the air in your home is clean and healthy for you and your family to breathe.

Reduced Allergens

If you suffer from allergies, using a higher MERV rated air filter can make all the difference. These filters are designed to capture a wide range of allergens, including pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. By preventing these allergens from circulating through your home, you can greatly reduce allergic reactions and improve your overall comfort level.

Decreased Risk of Respiratory Issues

Using a higher MERV rated air filter can also help to reduce the risk of respiratory issues. With the ability to capture harmful airborne particles, a higher rated filter can prevent these irritants from causing respiratory problems such as asthma attacks and bronchitis. By ensuring that the air in your home is clean and free of these irritants, you can breathe easy and live comfortably.

Overall, using a higher MERV rated air filter is a great way to improve the quality of the air in your home. With the ability to capture smaller particles, reduce allergens, and decrease the risk of respiratory issues, these filters are a simple yet effective way to ensure that your family is breathing in clean and healthy air.

Choosing the Right MERV Rating for Your Home

When it comes to selecting an air filter for your home, one size does not fit all. The MERV rating, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, of an air filter measures how effectively it can capture airborne particles. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at removing pollutants from the air.

For most households, a MERV rating between 8 and 13 is sufficient. This range will capture common household allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. It will also trap larger particles, like mold spores and some bacteria.

However, if you or a family member suffer from respiratory issues or have a weakened immune system, you may want to consider a filter with a higher MERV rating. Air filters with a rating of 14-16 will capture even smaller particles, like smoke and viruses. These filters are especially helpful for those with allergies or asthma.

It's important to note that while higher MERV-rated filters are more effective, they can also restrict airflow in your HVAC system. Be sure to check the manufacturer's specifications to ensure the filter will work with your system before making a purchase.

In summary, choosing the right MERV rating for your home depends on your specific household needs. Consider the presence of allergies or respiratory issues when selecting a filter, and don't forget to check your HVAC system's compatibility with the filter before purchasing.

Maintenance and Replacement of Higher MERV Rated Air Filters

While using a higher MERV rated air filter can improve indoor air quality, it's important to understand their maintenance requirements. These filters capture more particles, which means they can become clogged and dirty quicker. This can impact airflow and affect the filter's ability to properly filter the air.

To ensure the filter is working effectively, it's important to check it on a regular basis. Most manufacturers recommend checking the filter every 30 days and replacing it every 90 days, but this can vary based on usage and home conditions. If the filter appears dirty or clogged before the recommended replacement time, it's essential to change it as soon as possible.

When it's time to replace the filter, be sure to purchase the correct size and type for your HVAC system. Improperly sized or incompatible filters can cause damage to the system and may not effectively filter the air. Most filters have a MERV rating indicated on the packaging, so be sure to choose a compatible filter with the appropriate rating for your needs.

Regular maintenance and replacement of higher MERV rated air filters will help ensure proper filtration and improve indoor air quality. Be sure to follow manufacturer recommendations and check the filter regularly to ensure your home's HVAC system is functioning at its best.

Considerations for households with pets or smokers

If you have pets or smokers in your home, then you're probably aware of the various particles and allergens that they can produce. To effectively capture these particles, it's recommended that you use air filters with a higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating.

The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter can capture, and the cleaner your indoor air will be. However, keep in mind that air filters with a higher MERV rating also tend to have a higher resistance to airflow, which means your HVAC system may need to work harder to pump air through the filter.

It's also important to replace your air filters more frequently than typical homes. Pet dander and smoke particles can quickly accumulate in the air filter, which can decrease its overall effectiveness. For households with pets or smokers, it's recommended to replace air filters every 30-60 days.

Finally, regular cleaning and maintenance of the HVAC system can also help alleviate these issues. This includes cleaning the air ducts and changing the air filters on a regular basis. By doing so, you can ensure that your HVAC system is running efficiently and that the indoor air quality in your home is as clean as possible.

Conclusion: Choose a Higher MERV Rated Air Filter for Your Home's Health

In conclusion, using a higher MERV rated air filter for your HVAC system can have numerous benefits, like improving indoor air quality, reducing allergy and asthma symptoms, and prolonging the lifespan of your system. With a plethora of options available in the market, you can choose the filter that best meets your needs and preferences, considering the MERV rating, size, shape, and brand.

By investing in a better air filter, you can enhance your home's safety and health, as well as your own wellbeing, by breathing cleaner air and minimizing the risks of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses. So, the next time you replace your air filter, make sure to consider upgrading to a higher MERV rating and experience the amazing difference yourself!

Frequently Asked Question

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value - a scale created by ASHRAE to measure the effectiveness of filters in removing different sized particles. For example, a MERV-13 filter is designed to catch 90% of particles 3-10 µm in size, 85% of particles 1-3 µm in size (PM2.5), and 50% of particles 0.3-1 µm in size. Generally, filters with higher MERV ratings are better at catching higher percentages of particles, including the smaller ones.

When you install a filter in the airstream, it will create resistance. The amount of resistance depends on the type of filter material and the amount of area it covers. Standard fiberglass filters don’t generate much resistance, though it increases as the filter gets dirtier. To remove more pollutants from the air, you can use a filter with a different material such as a high MERV filter. These filters have smaller pores, which allow them to catch more pollutants, but also create higher resistance.

The problem with this is that the blower and furnace are only designed to handle a certain amount of pressure drop. Too much resistance means the air flow is low, making the heat exchanger get hotter and potentially crack. On the plus side, low air flow can result in better dehumidification in humid climates, as long as the air flow isn’t so low that it turns the condensate to ice.

So, the answer to the question is: yes, higher MERV filters are better, but you need to find the right balance between air flow, resistance, and effectiveness.

Air filters are designed to capture airborne particles, which can be anything from dust and pollen to mold spores and bacteria. The filter works by drawing air through itself and trapping the particles in the web of fibers that make up the filter.

What are the types of air filters

There are many different types of air filters available on the market. The type of filter you need will depend on the specific needs of your facility. Some common types of air filters include MERV, HEPA, activated carbon, and ultraviolet (UV) germicidal irradiation.

MERV: MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings range from MERV-0 to MERV-16. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing particles.

HEPA: HEPA filters are a type of air filter that is designed to capture very small particles. A true HEPA filter has a MERV rating of 17-20.

Activated carbon: Activated carbon filters are designed to remove gases and odors from the air.

UV germicidal irradiation: UV germicidal irradiation is a type of light that is used to kill bacteria and viruses.

There are pleated filters and panel filters. MERV 13 filters are pleated, while MERV 16 filters can be either pleated or panel. Pleated filters have more surface area because they are made up of multiple layers of filter media. The pleats create more space for the air to flow through, and the more layers of filter media there are, the more particles can be captured.

HEPA filters are usually pleated, but they can also be panel.

What are the differences between MERV 13 vs HEPA filters

While MERV 13 and HEPA filters both remove particles from the air, they work in different ways.

MERV 13 filters are designed to remove particles that are larger than 0.30 microns, while HEPA filters are designed to remove particles that are smaller than 0.30 microns. MERV 13 filters are often used in commercial and industrial settings, while HEPA filters are often used in hospitals and other medical settings.

MERV 13 filters are more efficient at removing large particles from the air, while HEPA filters are more efficient at removing small particles from the air. MERV 13 filters can remove up to 99.97% of particles from the air, while HEPA filters can remove up to 99.99% of particles from the air.

MERV 13 filters are less expensive than HEPA filters, and they can be used in a wider variety of settings. However, HEPA filters are more effective at removing small particles from the air, and they can be used in settings where MERV 13 filters cannot.

MERV and HEPA filters both work to capture airborne particles, but they do so in different ways. MERV 13 filters are designed to capture particles larger than 0.30 microns, while HEPA filters are designed to capture particles smaller than 0.30 microns. MERV 13 filters are more efficient at removing large particles from the air, while HEPA filters are better at capturing small particles. 

MERV 13 filters are less expensive and can be used in a wider variety of settings, but they can only remove up to 99.97% of particles from the air. On the other hand, HEPA filters are more expensive but can remove up to 99.99% of particles, making them ideal for medical settings. In short, MERV 13 filters are great for everyday use, while HEPA filters are better for specialized environments.

Your HVAC system includes a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump. It's essential to keep these systems clean and efficient by regularly replacing the air filters. To do this, you'll need to know about MERV ratings.

The air filter in your HVAC system serves two key functions: it protects your system from dust, and it helps clean the air in your home. When the filter is clogged, dust can build up in the system, and the equipment may overheat and fail.

How often the air filter needs to be changed depends on your home's size, where you live, and if you have pets. Inspect it every month, and replace it when you can't see the filter material through the dust.

When choosing an air filter, refer to the specifications of your HVAC system to determine the size. The MERV scale is used to measure the filter's ability to remove particles from the air, and ratings range from 1 to 20, with lower ratings meaning lower-quality filters.

Remember to balance air cleaning with air flow when upgrading your filter to a higher MERV rating. Too dense of a filter can cause air flow restriction and harm your system. Ask your HVAC technician for advice when in doubt.

Replacing the air filter is easy. Open the blower compartment located between the air return and the furnace or air handler. Put the used filter in a plastic bag, then insert the new filter with the arrows pointing in the direction of the airflow.

MERV 11 filters used to be thought of as air flow restrictors, but this is no longer necessarily the case. Home Energy's 2009 experimental test concluded that the pressure drop of high-MERV filters isn't as severe as it used to be. If you're renting and don't have any special needs, then a standard, cheap fiberglass filter with a cardboard frame is fine to use every three months. But if you own your home, then it's worth investing in a more durable filter.

Pleated filters with more pleats per foot are the better option and should be more effective at improving indoor air quality. However, the price can be an issue. A standard 16x25x1 11 MERV filter will cost around $5, but you can save a bit if you buy them in packs of 12. Filtrete, Purolator, and Nordic Pure are all trusted brands.

If you plan to buy washable filters, be aware that cheaper models may have loose filter media after washing and won't perform as well. Disposable filters are also more hygienic since they remove all the dirt from the air. Keep in mind that the more pleats per foot, the better the filter will be.

So, when it comes to MERV 11, the issue of air flow restriction isn't as big as it used to be. With the right filter, you can improve your indoor air quality without having to worry about a pressure drop. Make sure to replace your filter every three months for the best performance.

MERV ratings are used to compare filters to determine which is most effective for eliminating pollutants in a home or office. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) system to measure how well an air filter captures common airborne particles. There are 16 MERV values, ranging from 1 to 16, and the efficiency increases with the MERV number.

Filters are tested against 12 size ranges of particles, with the smallest being around 0.3 microns and the largest around 10 microns. To give a sense of the size, a micron is one millionth of a meter and a strand of human hair is approximately 75 to 100 microns.

The MERV rating is determined by measuring the particle count upstream and downstream of the filter being tested over six intervals, beginning with a clean filter. Afterward, a special ASHRAE test dust is added for five additional measurement cycles. The filter’s performance is determined by calculating the particle density before and after passing through the filter, and then assigning a MERV rating.

The MERV 8 filter is the most common filter in the U.S. Understanding how MERV ratings work can help you understand why it's so popular and how to choose the most beneficial filter for your needs.