More people than ever are conscious of their air quality, including how their HVAC system can impact it for better or worse. One simple thing that can reduce airborne contaminants is installing a filter with a higher MERV rating, which means it will block more and smaller particles. Whether it’s worth the time and expense will vary based on your particular circumstances.

Limitations and Cautions

Before making the investment in new and more expensive filters, you should consider some caveats. The way your HVAC equipment is designed and engineered may place limits on how high a MERV rating your filters should have. Higher MERV filters will create more resistance to the air flow going through your system, and that can lead to reduction in airflow that lowers the effectiveness and energy efficiency of your HVAC system. Your particular HVAC air filter housing or frame configuration can affect the size and shape of filter you choose, but doesn’t have to limit you to a low MERV filter. A qualified HVAC technician can advise you on the best filter for your specific setup.

Good Reasons to Up Your MERV

The reasons for choosing a higher-rated HVAC filter come down to human health and comfort. HVAC filters with a MERV rating above 11 can do an outstanding job of removing particles such as pollen and dust, making the space healthier and more pleasant for everyone. While a family with a child who has allergies or asthma may find this an easy choice, if you’re a commercial building manager or facilities manager, your decision-making is more complex. You must not only consider the comfort of the many different people who use your space, but also remain mindful of your maintenance budget. A good HVAC contractor or filter supplier can help you make the best decision, while also providing an explanation of the benefits for decision-makers to whom you report.

A quality filter can improve air quality in your building. However, an expert assessment of your HVAC system's requirements is needed before you can be certain "better" filters are really better for your situation.

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