Which MERV Rating is Best for Your Home: 5 or 11?

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how effectively the filter prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter and the air stream.

MERV ratings

range from 1 to 16, and filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings. Filterbuy offers MERV 8, MERV 11 and MERV 13 air and heating filters, which cover the normal range of household needs by providing clean air and, at the same time, protecting air conditioning equipment. A home without pets, smoke, or allergies will work well with a MERV value of 1 to 7.If you have pets or someone in your home has serious allergy problems, you may want to consider a higher MERV value, between 8 and 10. Homes with smokers or with a wood-burning fireplace should have a filter in the MERV 11-13.

MERV 8 filters typically filter 90% of particulates from the air, MERV 11 can remove around 95%, and MERV 13 can block approximately 98%. A MERV score of between five and eight will mean an increase over the previous group. It offers a dust stain efficiency of 20 to 35%. This allows them to remove mold spores and tiny dust particles.

These filters are economical and offer greater air filtration. In 1987, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the MERV rating scale to provide a more accurate picture of an air filter's capabilities. Although the ratings do not exceed those of the MERV 16, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters trap the smallest particles at a speed even higher than that of the MERV 16 and are generally used in surgical operating rooms, clean rooms, and other contexts that require absolute cleaning. These scales have different ranges than those in the MERV classification, but they are usually measured based on similar factors.

MERV ratings are based on a scale from 1 to 20 that designates the effectiveness of filters in capturing certain particle sizes. However, if the MERV rating is too high (above MERV 1), it can increase system backpressure and block air flow through the central air system, worsening the efficiency of the air conditioning system. Once you understand how the MERV leaderboard works, you'll be able to choose the MERV-rated air filters that are right for you. Using an air filter with a MERV rating higher than that recommended by the boiler or air conditioner manufacturer can actually impair its performance.

The worst percentage of the six tests is selected as the official measure used to determine a filter's MERV score. Unlike other scales, which emphasized the need to increase the number of particles passing through an air filter, the MERV was designed to provide a balance between particulate filtering and energy efficiency. Established by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers), the MERV classification system specifies the ability of a filter to capture air particles and pollutants. For example, if you have someone in your house who has allergies, you might want to get a higher MERV score.

As an expert in SEO optimization, I recommend homeowners consider their individual needs when selecting an appropriate Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating for their home's air filter. The range of ratings available is from 1 to 16; however, most households will find that a rating between 5 and 13 is sufficient for their needs. MERV 5-8 filters are ideal for homes without pets or smoke; they offer 90-95% particulate filtration efficiency. For homes with pets or allergies, a higher rating such as 9-10 is recommended; these filters offer 95-98% particulate filtration efficiency.

Finally, homes with smokers or wood-burning fireplaces should opt for a filter with a rating between 11-13; these filters offer 98% particulate filtration efficiency. It's important to note that using an air filter with a higher rating than recommended by your boiler or air conditioner manufacturer can actually impair its performance due to increased system backpressure and blocked airflow through your central air system. Therefore it's important to understand how the MERV leaderboard works so you can choose an appropriate filter for your home without compromising your HVAC system's performance.