Is MERV 14 Too High for Home Use?

The abbreviation MERV stands for Minimum Effective Information Value, which is a measurement that shows how small the filter holes are. The higher the number of MERV, the smaller the holes and the fewer they can pass through. This is why MERV 14 filters are not suitable for home use. The short answer is yes, but it's not really a problem, except in extreme circumstances.

Most modern HVAC systems can handle higher MERV filters, which is why millions of homeowners rely on them. The main risk of high-efficiency air filters is that they are not designed to be used for long periods of time. If you keep up with changing your filters, you should not experience any issues with your HVAC system. If your oven's merv rating is too high, it can cause 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, leading to temperature inconsistencies. Generally, filters with higher Merv ratings capture higher percentages of particles, as well as smaller particles. MERV-13 is usually the best option for residential use. These air filters are incredibly efficient, but they are not recommended for residential use.

They are large and bulky and are designed primarily for heavy-duty filtration in places like medical facilities. However, air filters with MERV ratings higher than 13 tend to restrict airflow because they have smaller pores to capture smaller particles. A MERV 14 or higher air cleaner can create more resistance in the airflow than a residential HVAC system is designed to handle. This can reduce the airflow of your system and worsen the air quality in your home, as well as put too much pressure on your air conditioning system.

The MERV scale is not linear; the difference between a MERV 6 and a MERV 8 is almost double in terms of the percentage of particles captured. MERV 11-13 air filters are a kind of midpoint between the cheapest and most expensive options. MERV 13 air filters are very effective at removing a wide range of particles, such as smoke, bacteria and even some viruses. Although ASHRAE suggests MERV 13, it may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems.

Low-efficiency filters are generally within MERV 1-4 and high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and later. If you have pets, you should use a MERV 10 filter to control their dander, which tends to have smaller particles than other contaminants discussed above. In addition, a filter with a higher MERV rating will reduce airflow more if it is only 1 (one inch) thick than if it is 4 (four inches) thick. Filters with higher MERV ratings should be changed more frequently (at least every three months) to avoid restricted airflow that can cause the system to operate inefficiently or even damage it. 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.

With the lowest MERV rating (1-), your filter will still capture pollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, and carpet fibers. In addition, most low-capacity air handlers are unable to mount the static pressure required for high-MERV filters, so CFI configurations with these often require in-line boost fans. In conclusion, while high-efficiency air filters can be beneficial in certain situations, they should be avoided in residential settings due to their potential to restrict airflow and cause damage to HVAC systems.