When it comes to air filtration, the question of which MERV rating is best for your home can be a tricky one. While it's true that a MERV-10 filter captures more particles than a MERV-8 filter, the question remains: how much more? Filters in the 5-8 MERV range can trap particles with a size of 3.0-10.0 microns, but are more efficient in doing so. A MERV 5 filter will trap up to 34%, the MERV 6 will stop 35-49%, the MERV 7 will prevent up to 69%, and the MERV 8 will trap up to 85% of particles. These filters are slightly more restrictive than MERV 1-4 filters and have the ability to trap mold and pet dander spores along with dust and pollen. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends a minimum of MERV 6, while UU.
recommends MERV 13. LEED recommends MERV 8 as a minimum. These filters are effective at filtering contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, sawdust, mold spores, and lint from the air, but higher MERV ratings will clean the air even more. The MERV rating scale was designed by ASHRAE in 1987 to provide a balance between particle filtering and energy efficiency. Anything above a MERV 13 rating is usually intended for cleanrooms, operating rooms, or radioactive filters. A filter with a MERV rating around 10 to 12 is enough to remove most allergy-causing particles from your home's air. However, it's important to note that some air filters, especially those with higher MERV ratings, may prevent airflow due to improved air filtration.
If this problem occurs after installing a high MERV filter, the problem is likely to be the filter. In conclusion, if you have someone in your household who suffers from allergies, you may want to opt for a higher MERV rating. ASHRAE recommends MERV 13 and 14 as the best option for air quality in your home. However, it's important to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating that is compatible with your specific HVAC system.