Is Merv 12 the Best Air Filter for Your Home?

The short answer is yes, but it's not really a problem, except in extreme circumstances. Most modern HVAC systems have no problem working with higher Merv filters, which is why millions of homeowners depend on them. The main risk of high-efficiency air filters comes from the fact that they are not modified for long periods of time. If you keep abreast of changing filters, you are unlikely to experience any filter related issues with your HVAC system.

A Merv rating of 13 to 16 is considered hospital-level air quality, so it's unlikely that your home will need more than that. According to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, filters in the 7-13 range often have little difference to higher MERV ratings, but will allow your system to operate much more efficiently.

With a portable air purifier through Sanalife, you can access easy-to-use air filtration systems with Merv 13+ ratings. In general, finding a filter with a higher MERV rating will correlate with greater efficiency in capturing particles and contaminants in the air. While there is no standard recommended MERV rating for reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, ASHRAE recommends a MERV rating of 13+, which is designed to capture 1 micron sized particles that would be effective for capturing COVID-19 virus particles indoors. Although Merv 13 is suggested by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), it may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems.

Filter technology has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and MERV ratings are designed to help us determine the most effective and efficient air filter options for heating and cooling systems and more. In addition, an oft-cited comprehensive independent test of the effects of MERV filters 8 to 13 on HVAC airflow and energy consumption (an indicator of how hard the equipment is working) concluded that even “if no adjustments are made for the increased pressure drop of high MERV filters, airflow and energy penalties are unlikely to be severe at least, not until the filter is loaded with dirt. Well, MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with 1 being the lowest level of filtration and 20 being the highest. A MERV 9 will trap less than 50% of particles with a size of 1.0-3.0 microns, the MERV 10 will stop up to 64%, the Merv 11 will get up to 79% and the MERV 12 is capable of trapping up to 89%.

If you have pets or someone in your household has significant allergy problems, you can consider a higher MERV value, between 8 and 10. Low-efficiency filters are generally within MERV 1-4 and high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and above. However, a high MERV rating on an air cleaner generally means that the filter is thicker and your HVAC system will have to work harder to circulate air throughout the house. If you are susceptible to allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, you may want to use a filter with a MERV rating of approximately 10 to 12. The most commonly used filters are those in the MERV 13 to 16 range, which will capture everything mentioned above, including lead, humidifier dust, nebulizer dust, charcoal dust, Legionella bacteria, insecticide dust and copier toner sneeze cores, car fumes and bacteria. Pleated filters that are MERV 8 to 13 can effectively filter small particles and decrease pressure drop (this is the closest thing to MerVana you can find).

In conclusion, Merv 12 is an excellent choice for most homes as it provides excellent filtration while still allowing your HVAC system to operate efficiently. However, if you have pets or someone in your household has significant allergy problems, you may want to consider a higher Merv rating such as Merv 13 or 14.

Clara Staino
Clara Staino

Hardcore beer nerd. Typical internet specialist. Devoted zombie buff. Total twitter scholar. Freelance social media practitioner. Infuriatingly humble travel buff.

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