Are MERV 16 Filters Good For Your Home Furnace?
OVERVIEW: Not recommended for Homeowners
Simply put, MERV 16 filters are not ideal for most homeowners (as we’ll show below).
Instead, homeowners are better served with MERV 13, or, in some cases, even lower.
Here’s our full review on the MERV 16 and why we recommend MERV 13 or lower, instead.
First, what exactly is MERV?
MERV is a rating. It stands for Minimum Effective Reporting Value.
In other words, it’s a measurement showing how small the holes are in the filter. The higher the MERV number, the smaller the holes, and the less that can pass through.
But as we’ll show, bigger isn’t always better.
Why wouldn’t a bigger number (smaller holes) be better?
There’s a sweet spot.
Of course, your home should be safe, and so you want the right filter that will block out all the usual suspects.
The problem is, most residential HVAC systems aren’t rated to handle this much.
That means, if you’re using a filter with holes that are smaller than recommended, you’re essentially plugging up your HVAC system.
And that can be expensive. Not to mention, it can cause other problems, too.
This is why we almost never recommend MERV 16 for home usage.
What is a MERV 16 for then?
MERV 16 filters are often used in places like hospitals, where there are a high level of unknown airborne bacteria and viruses — things that can spread through the air ducts.
It’s also for the reason hospitals use a much heavier HVAC system to scrub their air clean of these potentially deadly contaminants.
So, what filter is right for my home?
Most residential heating and cooling units are designed to meet a little resistance from the filter. That means, the higher the MERV number, the higher your risk of straining the unit.
But going too low on the MERV number will also let in too much of the unwanted stuff.
Many homes can get by with somewhere between MERV 8 to MERV 13.
(If you’re not sure, give us a call at 877-570-9755 or click here to send us a message, and we’ll walk you through which is the right fit for your home).
In the meantime, here are a list of questions to get you started:
- Are there more than three people 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 answered yes to any of these questions, then you should consider getting a MERV 13 rated filter. If you answered no, then you can probably get away with a lower rating.
Conclusion on MERV 16
Some environments do require MERV 16. But these are places like hospitals, not homes.
When you’re considering what to put in your home, we don’t recommend you go above MERV 13. This is because MERV 13 is adequate to keep your air fresh and clean — while not damaging your HVAC system in the process.
P.S. The secret weapon of air filters
Yes, there really is a secret weapon when it comes to your filters.
And it’s simpler than you think.
(And, to be fair, it’s also more powerful than most people give it credit for.)
Here it is…
Change your filters on time.
No matter which MERV rating is best for your home, your filter can’t do its job if it's dirty. And eventually… all filters get dirty.
Not only will an overdue filter not be working properly, but it will be putting a strain on your HVAC.
And that oversight can get expensive. Fast.
The tricky part is, unless you have a system in place, it’s super easy to let filters go way past their time. That’s because your daily life keeps moving on. And the change from a clean to a dirty filter is subtle at first. For a while, you won’t notice that your filter is not working like it should.
We get it.
That’s why we created our totally free air filter reminder service.
Just pick your optimal replacement schedule. And then we’ll automate the whole process, so you don’t have to ever worry about forgetting again. When it’s time to change your filter, you’ll get an email or SMS reminder from us. Simple as that.
Let us help you save your health, your comfort — and your HVAC system.
Getting started with the right filter is easy.
Just take our super-short survey. And then you’ll be on your way to having clean and healthy air in your home.
…and to sweeten the deal, we’ve got a $5 off coupon
Because, who doesn't love $5 off coupons, right?
Just use 5off5off when you checkout.