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MERV 8 vs. MERV 11: Which Air Filter Rating is Right for You?

Air filters work to improve the indoor air quality of your home or office. Choosing the perfect air filter is incredibly important because choosing one that is too high or too low can be dangerous to your health and your home. This requires you to consider a whole bunch of factors before you can select the perfect one for your needs.

The MERV rating of your furnace filter is way up on the list of factors to consider before buying one. For a while now, MERV 8 and MERV 11 filters have been in the running for the best MERV rating out there. To some people, the two MERV ratings are similar, which can make it difficult to choose which air filter suits your needs. This article will give a detailed breakdown of both air filters to help you choose one that provides the right air quality solutions for you.

What is MERV rating on air filters?

To understand which MERV rating is best for your specific needs, it is important that you first understand what a MERV rating is and what it means to your air filter is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a standard method of measuring the extent to which dust and other particles are allowed to pass through and enter your space. This rating system allows air filter manufacturers to show the level of airborne particles their air filter can capture.

It is simply the accepted rating method used to rate all air filters, and it has a scale of 1 to 16. This range depicts the lowest possible efficiency of an air filter, that is, 1, and the highest, that is, 16. Air filters with MERV ratings on the lower part of the scale will trap a lesser amount of particles and pollutants than those who fall on the higher side of the scale. MERV ratings on the high side permit a smaller amount of particles to pass through them.

Is the MERV 8 air filter for you?

MERV 8 air filters are most commonly used in residential buildings. They trap about 80% of airborne particles. Furnace filters with this MERV rating are capable of blocking contaminants that are in the 3.0-10-micron range and other larger particles. It holds back dust, mold, pollen, dust mites, bacteria, and pet dander. When shopping for an air filter, most people wonder if MERV 8 is a good enough air filter for their homes. It is usually the more affordable air filtering option, and for most households, it is a suitable way to keep your air healthy.

However, it is important to note that the MERV 8 filter can trap the pet dander of only one pet, so if you have more than one pet living in your home, you might want to swing for an air filter with a higher MERV rating. This also goes for people with severe allergies or breathing issues such as asthma. You should also get a higher air filter if you live in a place that is regularly polluted by smoke or smog.

Is the MERV 11 Air Filter for You?

As expected, the MERV 11 is a more efficient air filter than the MERV 8. It protects you from a larger range of particles. These particles include:

  • Mold spores
  • Cement dust
  • Pollen
  • Clothing fibers
  • Dust
  • Smog
  • Milled flour
  • Pet dander from multiple pets
  • Humidifier dust
  • Hair spray
  • Auto emissions
  • Lint
  • These air filters do not allow particles in the 1.0 to 3.0-micron size range to pass through them. Because they are more efficient, MERV 11 filters are a bit expensive, but they are certainly worth every penny. They filter more than 85% of airborne pollutants.

    It is a popular notion that the MERV 11 is too high for most people. And while in some cases this is true, it is not true for people who own multiple pets or have mild respiratory diseases. It is also suitable for people who are situated in smog polluted areas. The MERV 11 air filter is the wrong choice for people who do not own pets and do not have any breathing trouble; this is because it can lead to restricted airflow. Air filters with higher ratings can also have negative effects on HVAC components. The MERV 11 air filter is a safe option for residential use, and it usually does not cause restricted airflow.

    Which Air Filter is better for your home?

    Although in most cases, MERV 8 furnace filters are better for your home, the air filter that is best for your home is chosen based on the condition of your home at that moment. If you choose to use an air filter with a higher rating than your current situation requires, you might be putting yourself and your family in danger. MERV 11 is made of a thicker filter material than MERV 8. This means that more energy will be consumed to allow enough air to pass through. This increase in energy will cause a slow but inevitable deterioration of the HVAC components which is why you must maintain your furnace as often as you can.

    Your air filter needs to be changed regularly to ensure that the HVAC components of your home are in great shape. Leaving your filter for a prolonged amount of time will cause an accumulation of dirt on it which also causes restricted airflow and an increase in energy use. To keep your energy bill low and your HVAC components damage-free, you must evaluate your air filter regularly.

    Final Verdict

    The air filter best suited for you depends solely on your needs, lifestyle, and air quality requirements. To choose a suitable air filter, you must evaluate your lifestyle and that of your family members or roommates. The air filter chosen must cater to the needs of every resident. You need to consider the allergies or respiratory issues each resident may or may not have before deciding. Also, take into consideration the number of pets present in your house. This will allow you to choose the best air filter for your household. So whether you are going with the MERV 8 or MERV 11, what matter is that you choose one that suits all your air quality needs.

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