The Impact of Higher MERV Filters on Airflow: An Expert's Perspective

As an HVAC expert with years of experience, I have been asked countless times about the effects of using higher MERV filters on airflow. The simple answer is yes, they can restrict airflow, but this does not necessarily mean it is a problem. In fact, millions of homeowners use these filters without any issues. However, there are important factors to consider when selecting a filter for your system. One of the main concerns with high-efficiency air filters is that they do not need to be changed as frequently as lower MERV filters.

This means that if you neglect to change your filter regularly, it can lead to problems with your system. However, if you stay on top of filter changes, you are unlikely to experience any issues related to the filter itself. While it is true that a filter with a higher MERV rating will reduce airflow, it is not the only factor at play. The size of the filter and the type of fan motor in your HVAC system also play a role. Since using an air filter is not optional, it is important to find one that meets both your air filtration needs and your airflow requirements. If your home's air conditioning system cannot support a MERV 13 filter, opt for the next highest possible rating.

It is important to note that not all MERV 13 filters are created equal. Some may have an electrostatic charge that is necessary for effectiveness, but this charge may be lost when inserted into a mask. In this case, it is best to insert the filter into a pocket of the mask rather than directly onto the mask itself. Filters with higher MERV values should be changed more frequently, at least every three months, to avoid airflow restriction that can cause inefficiency or damage to your system. However, using a filter specifically designed for your system and maintaining it regularly should not jeopardize its operation.

In fact, the higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter will be at capturing particles and pollutants from the air. It is worth noting that HVAC technology has advanced in recent years, and most modern units should have at least a MERV 8 filter. This is a significant improvement from the past when MERV 8 was considered high-efficiency. In an article published by Home Energy, Dave Springer of Davis Energy Group discussed the pressure drop and energy use of various MERV filters. It is important to note that both surgeries and HVAC systems use MERV filters, but they do not use fiberglass filters. This is because fiberglass filters are not effective at capturing small particles and pollutants.