What is a MERV 14 Rating?

Learn about the importance of MERV ratings when choosing an air filter for your home. Find out why ASHRAE recommends a filter with a minimum MERV rating of 13.

What is a MERV 14 Rating?

Are you wondering what a MERV 14 rating is? It's an important factor to consider when choosing an air filter for your home. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it's a measure of how effective an air filter is at capturing particles. A MERV 14 rating indicates that the filter is capable of capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is incredibly efficient. MERV 13 air filters are the most commonly used in residential settings.

They are incredibly efficient, blocking more than 99% of bacteria and airborne particles that carry viruses. However, they are not recommended for residential use because they are large and bulky and designed primarily for heavy-duty filtration in locations such as medical facilities. Air filters with MERV ratings higher than 13 tend to restrict airflow because they have smaller pores to capture smaller particles. This can create more resistance in the airflow than a residential HVAC system is designed to withstand, and can worsen the air quality in your home as well as put too much pressure on your air conditioning system.

For HVAC systems, ASHRAE recommends a filter with a minimum MERV rating of 13, but MERV 14 or higher is preferred. Therefore, a filter with a MERV rating of at least 13 would efficiently capture COVID-19 virus particles and could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 indoors. Most MERV 6 or higher air filters are effective at trapping dust, mold spores, tobacco smoke, pet dander and pollen. It's important to note that MERV and HEPA are two different types of air filters, although you've probably seen both related to air filtration.

So, if you're using a filter with holes that are smaller than recommended (such as a MERV 1), you're basically plugging your HVAC system. MERV values greater than 13 are generally for hospitals, manufacturing plants, and other environments that have high air quality requirements. Therefore, if someone in your household has allergies or a respiratory condition, you should consider purchasing a higher MERV air filter. Anything higher than a MERV 13 is normally found in a hospital environment, where air sanitation is of the utmost importance.

With the increased air filtration provided by higher MERV ratings, there will also be a pressure drop, which will reduce airflow through the system and therefore more energy expenditure to keep up with fan resistance. Filters with a MERV rating of 11 can capture some coronavirus particles (65%), but MERV 13 is more effective, removing 85% of particles at 0.3 microns.

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