In the world of filter ratings, MERV is the accepted system used by most manufacturers and re-sellers. Short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, this system is designed to inform consumers about which environmental pollutants MERV-rated filters can trap, from pollen to dust mites. The system ranges from 1 to 16, with the higher end trapping the most particles. Generally, most residential systems only need a filter rated between 7 and 12, which do a good job of removing particles like dust and dander. MERV 11 filters are designed to capture:
- Humidifier dust
- Lead dust
- Auto emissions
- Milled flour
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Dust mites
- Plant spores
To get even more specific, MERV can remove 65 to 79 percent of 1.0 to 3.0 microns and 85 percent or better of 3.0 to 10.0 microns. When shopping for filters for your home, don’t worry about anything between 13 to 16, as these are reserved for the cleanest environments, such as hospitals, clean rooms and labs. You may think that the higher number the better anyway, right? Wrong. Filters with higher MERV ratings have smaller pores through which air can flow, creating additional resistance and thus more stress on your furnace system. What you’re left with is an inefficient filter, which negates the purpose of a filter in the first place. You can actually worsen the air quality in your home and stress your HVAC system when you reduce the air flow.
MERV 11 filters are on the higher end of the spectrum for residential furnace filter systems. It’s important to note, however, that you can go with a MERV 8 and still be OK. The MERV 8 will collect particles as small as three microns, just fine for any residential application. In fact, anything rated MERV 7 to 12 is sufficient to filter airborne contaminants for most residential systems.
It’s important to change your filter frequently, or at least as recommended by the manufacturer. If you neglect this task, your filter becomes inefficient at trapping the particles it was designed to capture. Most filters can last a few months before they need to be changed. If you have pets or live near a construction zone with lots of dust, change out your filters even more frequently.
We sell MERV 11 filters here at Filtration Montreal, in a variety of sizes and brands, so check out our website for the best money-saving value on 100+ furnace filters. Remember, you get FREE shipping through Canada Post AND you get your package the next day in most cases. We can help you learn more about MERV or answer any questions you may have about filter sizes.