MERV 16 Filters Review
We live in a society where we’re taught that bigger is always better, but that isn’t always true with air conditioner filter MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and it’s a rating that essentially tells you how effective the filter is at trapping small particles. The higher the rating, the more restrictive the filter. The scale goes from 1 to 20, with 20 MERV-rated filters trapping even small molecules and 1-rated filters barely blocking even larger grains, like sand and dirt.
What is the Ideal MERV Rating for My Home?
While the subject of this page is MERV 16 air filters, that high of a rating is almost never recommended for a residential HVAC system. There’s no exact science when it comes to selecting the right MERV rating for your home, but you really want a filter rated to trap the type of particles that are found in your household, but not exceed that level. The higher the MERV rating, the harder your AC has to work to push the air through the filter. Most residential heating and cooling units are designed to meet a little resistance from the filter, but even a filter with a rating of 14 can strain the unit. Here is a list of questions that you should ask yourself when considering your MERV rating:
Are there more than three individuals living in your home?
Do you have kids?
Does one or more of the people living in your home smoke inside?
Do you have any pets?
Do you have allergies?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, you should consider getting a filter with a MERV 13 rating. So, why not a 16?
MERV 16 Filters Aren’t Suitable For Residences
You might think that it’s a good idea to be on the safe side by ordering a MERV 16 filter despite the fact that your home HVAC system is only rated for a MERV 13 or lower, but that’s almost never the case. MERV 16 filters are used in places like hospitals, for instance, where the high level of unknown airborne bacteria and viruses can spread permeate the air and spread through the air ducts.
Hospitals, however, use much heavier air conditioning systems to scrub the air clean of these potentially deadly contaminants.
MERV 16 vs. MERV 13 Air Filters
There’s really no point in arguing the fact that certain environments require a MERV 16 air filter, but that’s simply not the case with residences. In fact, in most cases, a MERV 8 filter is adequate to keep the air in your home smelling fresh and clean. If you do, however, have children or pets, or you have an indoor smoker living in your house, you may want to upgrade your air filter as high as a MERV 13 rating.
But why not go higher? The units that are designed to be used with higher-rated filters, like a MERV 16, have bigger motors and are designed to force air through the tighter weaving. Residential air conditioning manufacturers don’t anticipate needing the additional power, and the higher-rated filters put additional strain on the system.