Higher numbers must mean higher quality, right? Well, not necessarily so when it comes to furnace filters for your home. Let’s explain. First off, the original purpose of furnace filters was to protect your HVAC system from falling victim to clogs or large particles that can really mess with the coils, vents and ducts. The past several years have brought many advances when it comes to filters because they can capture the smallest of particles – not only to protect the furnace or air conditioner itself but also to improve the indoor air quality, which is great to keep allergies and asthma flare-ups at bay.
However, today, we’re a “bigger is better” society – bigger flat screen TVs, bigger houses, bigger fast food portions, bigger everything. So, it stands to reason, we as a collective unit think that a higher MERV rating on our furnace filters must automatically mean more protection and higher indoor quality. But this isn’t necessarily so. Unless you’re working in a clean room, medical facility or lab, anything higher than MERV 11 is overkill.
Regular Joe Shmoes living in a regular house in a regular environment don’t need to spend the money on a higher price tag for MERV 13, 14, 15, or 16. Remember, MERV stands for Minimum-Efficiency Reporting Value and measures the efficiency with which filters remove particles of certain sizes.
Here are the top three reasons why you needn’t bother going with a higher MERV:
1. Higher MERV filters block air flow, which makes it more difficult to sufficiently heat or cool a room because the fan can't properly circulate the air. Because they have tinier holes through which particles can pass, they get clogged up faster than lower MERV rated filters. The fan will work harder to pull air through the filter due to restriction, so if it has to work harder, it can damage your unit and make it more costly to fix over time. That’s all well and good if you’re prepared to change your filters every month. However, that’s totally unnecessary for normal residential use. By shelling out more money for a higher MERV, you may get complacent, thinking that the filter has super powers and can last and last. You may think, hey for the money, that thing better last me all winter. Nope. After a month of clogged particles, the filter no longer works efficiently, and you’re getting no benefit from it at all. In fact, you’re doing damage to your HVAC unit and you’re lessening the air quality of your home.
2. Those higher MERV filters are more costly than lower rated ones. In fact, they can cost up to double the price, meaning you’re shelling out money unnecessarily, for all the reasons listed above. You’re better off going with a MERV 8 or 11, pocketing the difference, and changing your filters at normal intervals (usually about every three to four months).
3. The need for replacement on higher MERV filters is put on the fast track. So, you have a double whammy: not only are you spending way more money than you need to per filter, you have to change them more frequently because they get dirtier faster. This means you have to stock up more often and deal with the hassle of changing the filter out every month or two as opposed to maybe just twice a winter. Who has that kind of money and time to waste? Not you!
So, the takeaway from all this is to just stick to the MERV 8 or 11 for your home. Trust us, that’s all you need. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to make a buck.
Go check your filter stash right now. Are you getting low? Order some in bulk from us and they could be there as soon as tomorrow! And with free shipping in Canada no less!