MERV 11 oven filters have a particle arrest rate of just over 90%, while MERV 13 HVAC filters have a particle arrest rate of around 98%. This makes the latter significantly more efficient. However, using the highest MERV rated filter in your home could restrict airflow, making it difficult for your HVAC to operate properly. In commercial properties, strict building codes and an increase in foot traffic mean that a filter with a higher MERV rating is usually required.
This may not seem like a big difference compared to the MERV 8 filter, but a MERV 11 is also better able to capture between 65% and 79% of the smallest particles. Filters with higher Merv ratings should be changed more frequently (at least every three months) to avoid restricted airflow that can reduce efficiency or even damage the system. The higher the MERV rating of a filter, the less dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it. Filters with a MERV rating above 13 can filter particles closer to the 0.3 micron size.
In operating rooms and other spaces where absolute cleanliness is required, filters with a MERV rating of 17 to 20 are used. Therefore, while the MERV rating exceeds 13, it's best to avoid going higher at home. A MERV 8 carbon filter will provide more than enough filtering of dust and allergens and will filter dozens of toxic gases that will pass directly through a MERV 13 filter. An air filter with a higher MERV rating can block microscopic particles, such as smoke molecules, due to its tighter mesh fabric.
It's best to comply with oven manufacturer's recommendations or consult an HVAC professional to determine exactly which MERV rating is best for your specific system. Using a MERV rating 13 filter is the best way to protect against bacteria that spread the virus, but you should also consider adding air quality solutions to your home.