Is Merv 8 Too Restrictive for Your Home's HVAC System?

If you want your air to be clean and free of dust, mold, pollen, and bacteria, then a Merv 8 air filter will do the job. A Merv 11 air filter has a higher efficiency rating, meaning it can capture finer particles and remove more pollutants from the air. But is a MERV 11 filter too restrictive for your needs? Opinions vary on the subject, but all professionals agree that a good HVAC air filter is necessary for your home. Poorly chosen filters can cause motors and controls to burn out, and weak filters can clog coils, motors, and blowers, resulting in higher energy costs.

MERV 5 to 8 filters are disposable pleated media filters that cost four times more than MERV 1-4 spun glass fiber filters, but they have much better contaminant removal capabilities. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends MERV 13, but this may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems. In fact, MERV 11 may even be too restrictive. It's best to comply with the furnace manufacturer's recommendations or consult an HVAC professional to determine exactly which Merv rating is best for your specific system.

If your oven's MERV rating is too high, it can force your oven to work too hard and leave it vulnerable to damage. In addition, you may not get the air velocity needed to reach all parts of your home, leaving temperature inconsistencies. Using an oven filter with a MERV rating higher than your use case requires can have adverse effects. The thickness of the filter material in a MERV filter 11, for example, is greater than that of a MERV filter 8.Therefore, in order for sufficient air to pass through the filter, a greater amount of energy is consumed.

Increased usage can cause more wear and tear, so be sure to maintain your oven regularly. However, MERV 11 filters are not considered too tall for residential use. Anything greater than a MERV 11 is designed for businesses or households with family members suffering from respiratory problems. In general, a filter with a higher MERV rating will reduce airflow.

However, there are many other factors at play, such as the size of the filter and the type of fan motor in your HVAC system. The higher the MERV rating, the more restrictive the airflow through the device, causing the team to work harder. We recommend this MERV rating for people with pets, children, or people just looking for better indoor air quality. Based on these characteristics, a MERV 8 is considered superior filtration compared to air filters with a lower MERV rating.

Merv 11 air filters can filter a large percentage of fine particles that a MERV 8 air filter cannot. If someone has an allergy or respiratory problem, choose a MERV 11 air filter or even a Merv 13 air filter. However, if not, this information will answer “what is the MERV rating? What is the best MERV rating for my oven or air handling unit?” and similar introductory questions. While ASHRAE recommends MERV 13 and 14, it is best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific HVAC system.

In fact, even filters with high Merv ratings can be used in some systems with minimal pressure drop. If you're in a situation where you shouldn't use a high MERV filter (12+) for use in ovens or air conditioners and would like to research air purifiers here are two suggestions: In particular, using an air cleaner with a MERV rating that is too high can damage the compressor, heat exchanger, and air conditioner coil. If you're worried about the effects of inhaling fine air particles then that's another reason to choose a MERV 11 air filter instead of a MERV 8 air filter. Electrostatic filters range from MERV 2 to MERV 10 and use charged fibers to remove particles from the air.

However if you are concerned about outdoor air pollution or family members with respiratory problems or pets in the house then it might be a good idea to choose a higher MERV rating. In Merv 8 you're now trapping dangerous allergens that cause outbreaks for most allergy sufferers.

Conrad Sobczyk
Conrad Sobczyk

Award-winning beer aficionado. Wannabe burrito evangelist. Hipster-friendly pop culture practitioner. Total coffee trailblazer. Incurable zombie specialist. Hardcore webaholic.

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