MERV 11 Filter: Everything You Need To Know
What is MERV 11 filter, you ask? It’s a mid-range filter. Depending on your needs, it may be more than you need, or it may not offer the filtration level you need. It’s recommended for use in homes with pets or those with mild to moderate allergies or asthma. If you’re not a pet owner or don’t have any health conditions that affect your breathing, you can get by with a lower grade MERV 8 filter.
MERV Ratings: What Does MERV 11 Mean?
MERV refers to the “minimum efficiency reporting value” of a filter. The rating measures how effectively the filter stops contaminants and other particles from entering a home through the HVAC system. Established in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), MERV is the only standardized filter rating system.
The higher the MERV rating, the more airborne contaminants the filter can remove from the air before entering your home. A high MERV filter also means the HVAC system has to work harder because there is more to block airflow. If you use a filter that’s too high for your system, it can increase back pressure and block airflow, running your system’s efficiency.
Filters in the 8 to 13 range are best for residential and commercial environments. MERV 4 to 6 aren’t recommended for residential use but have adequate removal efficiency in handling industrial applications. MERV 14 to 20 are best for hospital and laboratory applications where it’s necessary to capture as much as possible from the air. MERV 11 furnace filters offer a balance between indoor air quality and HVAC efficiency.
Where do HEPA filters fit in? They aren’t MERV rated but would be equivalent to the MERV 17 to 20 range because of how much air filtration they provide.
Other rating systems, like the microparticle rating (MPR) and filter performance rating (FPR), are available, but they aren’t independent consumer standards. 3M created the MPR system to rate their products, while Home Depot developed the FPR for their products.
What Does a MERV 11 Filter Block?
MERV 11 air filters block at least 65% to 79% of airborne particles in the 1.0 to 3.0-micron size range. And, they’ll provide 85% or better filtration of particles in the 3.0 to 10.0-micron range. This includes things like:
- Pet dander
- Dust and lint
- Mold spores
- Hair spray
- Carpet and clothing fibers
- Cement dust
- Humidifier dust
- Auto emissions
- Milled flour
For reference, a single human hair ranges from 20 to 40 microbes in size, while viruses - the smallest airborne microbes - range from 0.1 to 0.3 microns.
Who is the MERV 11 Best For?
The MERV 11 filter is best for pet owners and people who live with certain health conditions, such as mild allergies and mild asthma. It offers more filtration for cleaner air than the MERV 8 but doesn’t filter as much as the MERV 13 (the highest option suggested for residential use).
Upgrading to the MERV 13 may be the better option if you or someone in your home deals with:
- Severe allergies
- Severe asthma
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Chronic bronchitis
- Or another similar health condition that affects the lungs and breathing
When is it Time To Change Your Air Filter?
As your filter works to trap airborne particles and contaminants, the filter gets dirty. When left too long, it blocks airflow. The system has to work harder to pull air through, which drives up energy costs and increases wear and tear.
Typically, air filters last three to five months before they need to be replaced. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, so you may need to change your filter on a different schedule. Signs it’s time to change your filter include:
- Abnormally high energy bills
- Dust and dirt covering the filter’s surface area
- Dust build-up around the home.
- Burning smells around your HVAC system
Changing your air filter regularly is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do to keep your HVAC system in top shape.
Filter King: Air Filter Delivery Service
Filter King offers a hassle-free MERV 11 air filter subscription service, so you never forget to replace your air filters. Simply choose your correct filter size, your preferred delivery frequency, and we’ll handle the rest. Even if you have an odd-sized filter, our custom filters have you covered.