Are you wondering if a Merv 13 filter is enough to protect against the coronavirus? The answer is not a simple yes or no. A Merv 13 filter is a step in the right direction and can capture more particles than a typical MERV 8 filter. However, it's not as effective at capturing small virus-sized particles as a HEPA filter. A MERV 13 will trap less than 75% of air particles that are 0.3-1.0 microns in size (coronavirus is 0.1 microns).
It is also difficult for many existing HVAC systems to adopt a MERV 13 because of the greater fan load of finer filter media, which can actually cause more harm than good and reduce airflow if your system is not designed to handle that type of filter. On average, many installations are limited to one type of MERV 8 or MERV 9 filter. A True HEPA reports that the filter captures at least 99.97% of particles of at least 0.3 microns in size by DOE standards. In cases where the ventilation system cannot handle a high-efficiency filter, you can use a portable air purifier while upgrading to the highest possible merv rating with existing capacity.
Therefore, using a high-merv filter to purify the air of COVID-19 can certainly help reduce the spread in the office environment. MERV 14 and higher can capture particles that are even smaller than previous MERV ratings, ranging from 0.3 to 1.0 microns in size. A filter with a MERV rating of 14 may be able to remove VOCs* from the air, while a different filter with the same rating may not be able to. The scale ranges from 1 to 16, where a larger number indicates greater filter efficiency and the ability to capture smaller particles.
So how did our tests go with our “Box Fan with a MERV 13 Filter Cleaning Device”? In the tool room, the device removed 59.7% of one-micron particles and 86.4% of five-micron particles. In general, finding a filter with a higher MERV rating will correlate with greater efficiency in capturing particles and contaminants in the air. Your air conditioning system has an air filter that traps dust and particles as air circulates through your home or office. It's important to note that MERV and HEPA are two different types of air filters, although you've probably seen both related to air filtration. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Report Values and is a test method developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
For the European standard, a True HEPA filter will filter the air and capture at least 99.95% of particles 0.3 microns in size. The “Box Fan” with the MERV 13 can filter the air before it enters the space, thus reducing allergens and other pollutants found in the outdoor air. Using a filter in your home to block the COVID-19 virus is only as effective as your other countermeasures. Therefore, a filter with a MERV rating of at least 13 would efficiently capture COVID-19 virus particles and could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 indoors.