MERV 13 ...or Not?
With the advent of the COVID pandemic, the EPA issued the following statement:
“Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, or MERV, reports a filter's ability to capture particles. Filters with MERV-13 or higher ratings can trap smaller particles, including viruses.
Many home HVAC systems will have a MERV-8 filter installed as the default. Upgrading to a MERV-13 rated filter, or the highest-rated filter that your HVAC system fan and filter slot can accommodate, could improve the system’s efficacy in removing viruses from circulated air.”
The EPA also says: “Before making any changes to the air filter in an HVAC system, users should consult their HVAC manual or an HVAC professional.”
The demand for a MERV 13 filter during the COVID pandemic has increased exponentially, in part because of this recommendation. Businesses and concerned homeowners have been inquiring about where to purchase MERV 13 filters as they seek to protect employees, customers, and families.
While the highest MERV ratings are the most effective for improving indoor air quality, they can harm your HVAC system.
A higher MERV rating means a higher resistance, which means your furnace must work harder to push air through the filter. Like a dirty filter, pushing air through a higher MERV rated filter may shorten the life of the furnace motor. Energy bills may also increase as your furnace works harder.
Before installing a MERV 13 filter, talk to your contractor.