Is MERV 11 the Right Choice for Your HVAC System?

In most cases, a MERV 11 air filter is not too high for residential use. It is a common misconception that the MERV 11 is too high for most people, but this is not true for those with multiple pets or mild respiratory illnesses. It is also suitable for people living in areas with high levels of smog. The MERV 11 air filter may not be the best choice for those without pets or respiratory problems, as it can restrict airflow.

Higher rated air filters can also have a negative impact on HVAC components. However, the MERV 11 air filter is generally safe for residential use and does not usually restrict airflow. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggests a MERV 13 rating, but this may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems. In fact, a MERV 11 rating may even be too restrictive.

It is best to follow the furnace manufacturer's recommendations or consult an HVAC professional to determine the best MERV rating for your system. Using an air filter with a higher rating than necessary can have adverse effects. The thickness of the filter material of a MERV 11 filter is greater than that of a MERV 8 filter, so more energy is required to allow enough air to pass through it. This increased use can lead to more wear and tear on the system, so regular maintenance is important.

A MERV 11 filter is not considered too high for residential use. Any product superior to MERV 11 is designed for homes or businesses with family members who have respiratory problems. Low airflow can cause the air conditioner coil to become too cold and even freeze, leading to lower and lower airflow and an increasingly cold coil until it becomes a block of ice. This prevents refrigerant from evaporating and returning to the compressor in a liquid state, which can damage the compressor. Peace of mind is invaluable and if you think that a high MERV filter would provide that, you should go ahead with it - just make sure to replace dirty filters often enough (26%), which could be every one or two weeks depending on the MERV classification, effective area of the filter and amount of particles entering your home.

A MERV 8 carbon filter will more than adequately filter dust and allergens and dozens of toxic gases that will pass directly through a MERV 13 filter. To understand which MERV rating is best for your needs, it is important to first understand what a MERV rating is and what it means for your air filter (acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). Surgeries have a variety of Merv filters and HVAC systems use Merv filters; in both cases, they do not use fiberglass. Washing with alcohol could create some strange, weird and potentially dangerous chemicals, so sunlight should be used to disinfect them instead - even this could break down Merv filters slightly and release unintentional chemicals. The Merv 16 would be the best option as it will filter 95%. There is a YouTube video showing how to make your own N95 mask with a Merv 16 filter.

A MERV 13 filter is likely to help prevent droplets from passing through, but it is important to note that a Merv 8 filter can trap dander from one pet - if you have more than one pet living in your home, you may want to opt for an air filter with a higher Merv rating. Although ASHRAE recommends models 13 and 14, it is best to select the highest possible Merv rating for your specific air conditioning system. For some time now, Merv 8 and Merv 11 filters have been competing for the best Merv rating out there. While Merv 8 is known to be effective at filtering contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, sawdust, mold spores and lint from the air, higher Merv ratings will clean the air even more.

Brittney Everitt
Brittney Everitt

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