Why You Need to Know About Air Filter MERV Rating: The Benefits of Using a MERV 8 Rated Air Filter

If you're like most people, you probably don't think too much about the air filter in your home's HVAC system. However, if you care about your health and indoor air quality, you should! Understanding the MERV rating of your air filter is crucial for ensuring you're breathing clean air.

In this article, we're going to explore the benefits of using a MERV 8 rated air filter. From reducing allergens to improving HVAC efficiency, a MERV 8 filter may be just what you need to improve your indoor air quality and overall health. So, buckle up and get ready to learn about one of the most important components of your HVAC system!

Don't let dirty, inefficient air filters hold you back. Keep reading to discover the incredible benefits of MERV 8 rated air filters and the role they play in creating a healthier home environment.

What is a MERV Rating and How Does It Affect Indoor Air Quality?

A MERV rating is an essential factor to consider when choosing an air filter for your home or office. It is a measure of the filter's efficiency in capturing and removing airborne particles from the air. MERV ratings range from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 20 (highest efficiency), with higher ratings indicating better filtration.

The MERV rating can impact indoor air quality significantly. When air circulates through the filter, the MERV rating determines the number and size of particles it can capture. A filter with a low MERV rating will only capture large particles such as dust and dirt, but a higher MERV rated filter will capture smaller particles, including bacteria, mold, and pollen.

A higher MERV rating means a better quality air filter, which leads to fewer particulates in the air. Particulates can cause respiratory issues, allergy symptoms, and asthma. Particles can also cling to household surfaces, making them dirty and unhygienic.

Choosing an air filter with a MERV rating of at least 8 is recommended for most homes and office buildings. This rating will generally filter particles between 3 and 10 microns, including dust, pollen, and some mold spores. However, for those with allergies or asthma, a higher MERV rating may provide better health benefits.

In conclusion, understanding the MERV rating and its impact on indoor air quality is crucial. Choosing a filter with a higher MERV rating can help improve the air quality in your home, creating a cleaner and healthier living environment.

How MERV 8 Filters Compare to Lower and Higher Rated Air Filters

Lower-rated air filters, such as MERV 1-5, are generally considered to be less effective at capturing airborne particles. These filters may only capture larger particles like dust and pet hair, but they may not capture smaller, more harmful particles like allergens and pollutants. Additionally, lower-rated filters may need to be replaced more frequently, as they may become clogged with dirt and debris more easily.

On the other hand, higher-rated air filters, such as MERV 9-16, are more efficient at capturing a wider range of airborne particles. These filters may capture smaller particles like bacteria and viruses, as well as larger particles like pet dander and pollen. However, higher-rated filters may also be more restrictive, which can reduce the airflow in your HVAC system and potentially cause damage over time.

MERV 8 filters fall in the middle of the range of air filters and offer a balance between efficiency and airflow. These filters are effective at capturing larger particles like dust and pet hair, as well as smaller particles like pollen and mold spores. Additionally, MERV 8 filters are typically recommended for residential use, as they can effectively improve indoor air quality without reducing airflow or causing damage to HVAC systems.

Ultimately, the MERV rating of an air filter should be chosen based on the specific needs of your home or business. If you have respiratory issues or allergies, you may want to consider a higher-rated filter, while if you have pets or live in a dustier environment, a MERV 8 filter may be sufficient for your needs.

The Benefits of Using a MERV 8 Air Filter

Are you concerned about the quality of the air you breathe in your home? If so, using a MERV 8 air filter could be the solution you're looking for. Here are some of the benefits of using a MERV 8 air filter:

Improved respiratory health: A MERV 8 filter is effective at capturing common household allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. By removing these pollutants from the air, a MERV 8 filter can help reduce the risk of respiratory problems and improve indoor air quality.

Reduced energy costs: Using a MERV 8 filter can help lower your energy bills by improving the efficiency of your HVAC system. A dirty air filter can make your HVAC system work harder than it needs to, resulting in higher energy consumption and costs.

Cleaner home: A MERV 8 filter can help keep your home cleaner by preventing dirt, dust, and other particles from circulating through the air ducts. This can reduce the need for frequent dusting and cleaning, saving you time and effort.

Overall, using a MERV 8 rated air filter can lead to improved indoor air quality, reduced energy costs, and a cleaner home. Make sure to check your air filter regularly and replace it as needed to maximize these benefits.

How Often to Replace Your MERV 8 Air Filter and Maintenance Tips for Optimal Performance

To ensure your MERV 8 air filter is operating at its best, it's important to replace it every 3 months or sooner if you have pets or allergies. This will keep your air filter from becoming clogged and ensure it's effectively capturing airborne particles.

However, if you notice that your air filter appears to be dirty or clogged before the 3-month mark, it's a good idea to replace it sooner. A dirty air filter can cause your HVAC system to work harder than it needs to, which can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on the system and higher energy bills.

In addition to replacing your air filter, it's important to maintain your HVAC system by having it regularly serviced. This can help prevent problems from occurring, and prolong the life of your system. You should also ensure that your air ducts are clean and free from debris, which can improve the efficiency of your HVAC system and improve your home's indoor air quality.

By following these maintenance tips and replacing your MERV 8 air filter regularly, you can ensure your HVAC system is operating at peak performance, which can save you money on energy bills and improve the air quality in your home.

Tips for Selecting the Best MERV 8 Air Filter for Your Home and HVAC System

When it comes to selecting a MERV 8 air filter for your HVAC system, there are several factors to consider. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

1. Consider the Size of Your HVAC System: It's important to choose an air filter that's compatible with the size of your HVAC system. Check your system's manual to find out the recommended filter size for your specific model.

2. Type of Contaminants: If your main concern is removing pet dander, pollen or other allergens, look for filters that are labeled as allergen-reducing. If you want to remove unpleasant odors, consider filters with activated carbon technology.

3. Health Concerns: If you or someone in your household has allergies or respiratory issues, it's important to choose a filter that can effectively remove pollutants from the air. Look for filters labeled as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) or with a MERV rating of 11 or higher.

4. Read Reviews and Compare Prices: Reading reviews from other HVAC system owners can give you a better idea of how well a specific air filter performs. Also, compare prices from different retailers to find the best value for your budget.

By following these tips, you can choose a MERV 8 air filter that will effectively remove pollutants and allergens, helping you maintain a healthier indoor environment.


In conclusion, knowing about the air filter MERV rating and using a MERV 8 rated air filter can provide a myriad of benefits, both for your health and for the longevity of your HVAC system. By trapping particles such as pollen, pet dander, and dust, you can breathe easier and create a cleaner living environment for you and your loved ones. Additionally, by reducing the amount of debris that enters your HVAC system, you can prolong its lifespan and minimize the need for costly repairs. Make sure to always check the MERV rating when choosing an air filter and choose the right one for your needs. By doing so, you can enjoy the benefits of cleaner air and a healthier home.

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.