Are High MERV Filters Bad For Furnace? Need To Know


Is a high MERV filter bad for your furnace? Homeowners keen on improving air quality and protecting their HVAC equipment may wonder. The answer is not straightforward. However, this article will provide helpful insights to help you make an informed decision.

Are High MERV Filters Bad For Furnace
  • Air filters vary in size and have different MERV ratings, which stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.
  • MERV rating measures how effective an air filter is at capturing airborne contaminants.
  • Higher MERV ratings indicate cleaner air but also more resistance to airflow, leading to potential issues like low airflow, pressure drop, and reduced HVAC performance.
  • High MERV filters (above 13) can be used without causing harm to the furnace or AC system, but compatibility with specific system needs is crucial.
  • Low airflow caused by dense filter material or excessive pleats can result in reduced energy efficiency, increased energy bills, overheating of the motor or heat exchanger, and even system breakdown.
  • Choosing the right filter size is important to prevent airflow restrictions and ensure particles can pass through without hindrance.
  • Following manufacturer guidelines when replacing or installing a new filter is recommended.
  • High MERV filters offer several benefits, including reducing airborne pollutants such as dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, odors, allergens, and virus-carrying droplets.
  • They also improve breathing comfort for individuals with asthma or allergies and reduce exposure risks for vulnerable populations such as young children and the elderly.
  • However, it’s important to note that a high MERV filter alone is not a complete solution for all indoor air quality problems.
  • Other factors like source control, ventilation, humidity control, and air purifiers should also be considered.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recently reported that residential HVAC systems with low airflow and high static pressure (TESP) can cause a range of performance problems

These include poor heat transfer, inefficient motor/blower operation, reduced capacity or temperature output, and risk of equipment failure. This emphasizes the importance of proper system design, installation, maintenance, and choosing the right MERV rating filter for your specific needs.

In short, the right MERV filter for your furnace or AC system is key for balancing indoor air quality with energy use and HVAC performance. High MERV filters aren’t bad. But, they need to be assessed before installation to avoid potential issues like low airflow or motor overload. 

The trick is finding a balance between filtration efficiency and airflow resistance based on your HVAC equipment design and usage needs. If unsure, it’s best to consult with a professional.

Air Filters

To understand air filters effectively in your HVAC system, you need to pay attention to the MERV rating system. It’s a useful tool to measure the effectiveness of air filters and how they capture airborne contaminants. In addition to MERV ratings, two other acronyms to consider are ERV and MERV. These are minimum efficiency reporting value and efficiency reporting value, respectively. These topics are critical to understanding and making the right decision when choosing an air filter for your home or office.

MERV Rating System

MERV rating is key when choosing air filters. It measures filter performance in trapping particles of different sizes, thus improving air quality. A higher MERV rating does not automatically mean better filtration. It may put a strain on your HVAC system, leading to higher energy costs.

One cool thing about MERV is that it takes into account all particle sizes, even allergens like pollen and dander. Some filters have added features like carbon or UV-C lights.

Top tip: Change your filter every three months, or more often if you have pets/allergies, for optimal performance. MERV is like a matchmaker for air filters and clean air!

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and measures a filter’s ability to trap particles. The higher the rating, the better the filtration. MERV ratings range from 1-4 for particles greater than 10.0 microns, such as pollen, dust mites, and carpet fibers.

  • 5-8 MERV ratings are effective for capturing particles between 10.0-3.0 microns, such as mold spores, hair spray droplets, and auto-emission particulates.
  • 9-12 MERV ratings are capable of capturing particles of 3.0-1.0 microns, including larger bacteria, cooking oil, and sneeze droplets.
  • Finally, 13-16 MERV ratings provide coverage for particles sized 1.00-.3 microns, such as smoke particles, viruses, and carbon dioxide

Before upgrading to a higher-rated filter, consult a professional to make sure your HVAC system can handle it. Get cleaner air for you and your family today!

Efficiency Reporting Value (ERV)

Efficiency Reporting Value (ERV) is a way to rate air filters. The higher the ERV, the better the filter is at capturing small particles like allergens and pollutants.

Check out the table below for common filter types and their ERV ratings:

Filter TypeERV Rating

Although higher ERV ratings mean better filtration, they can affect airflow and put a strain on HVAC systems. So, when selecting an air filter, think about the level of filtration needed, budget, and impact on HVAC performance.

Fun Fact: Indoor air pollution can be up to five times worse than outdoor air pollution, according to the U.S. EPA. Upgrade your air by using High MERV Filters and keep Mervyn the annoying coworker away!

Factors Affecting High MERV Filters

To understand the effects of high MERV filters on your HVAC system, let’s explore further with a focus on the impact of these filters on airflow and air handlers. We’ll also discuss the issue of pressure drop related to high MERV filters and how it affects the performance of your HVAC system. By examining these sub-sections, you can make an informed decision on whether using high MERV filters is the right choice for your home’s air quality needs while maintaining the cost-effectiveness of your system.

Effect of High MERV Filters on Airflow and Air Handler

Filtering air with high MERV filters can greatly influence the airflow and air handler of any space. Let’s take a look at how they work and their effect on the environment.

We can create a table of info to better understand the impact of high MERV filters. This table shows the different ratings, capabilities, and suitability for various applications.

Filter MERV RatingRemoval CapabilityEquipment Pressure Drop (inches of water column)Suggested Use
6-8Pollen, dust mites, textile fibers, carpet fibers,0.1-0.25Residential-use systems only.
9-11Mold spores, hair spray, cement dust,0.15-0.30All residential ducted systems.

MERV filters of 12 or higher can cause problems with airflow and reduce airflow rates from HVAC equipment, leading to reduced performance.

  1. High-rated filters can have a significant impact on airflow and the air handler if not properly maintained or correctly sized.
  2. Filters with high ratings require extra power to draw air in, emphasizing the importance of regular maintenance for optimal functioning.
  3. While high MERV filters provide cleaner air, they can also lead to restricted airflow, potentially causing negative effects.
  4. It is advisable to consult an HVAC technician to determine the most suitable MERV filter for your specific system.

For instance, Susan moved into a new house and used high MERV filters without consulting a technician. Her system was too small to handle the extra load from the filter, causing issues after only a few months of use.

Take note: some pressure is good, but for your HVAC system, a high MERV filter will help keep it in check.

Effect of High MERV Filters on Pressure Drop

High MERV filters improve indoor air quality, but cause ‘pressure drop‘. This makes the HVAC system work harder, using more energy.

But there are ways to reduce pressure drop while using high MERV filters. Ensure proper installation and sealing of ducts. Or get a variable speed fan that adjusts based on filter pressure.

High MERV filters were first used in hospital cleanrooms. Now they’re used in commercial buildings and homes. They help remove pollutants from the air we breathe.

Installing high MERV filters helps the HVAC system breathe easier. Allergy season won’t be a problem anymore!

Effect of High MERV Filters on HVAC System Performance

High MERV filters can give your HVAC system a boost. They can trap even the tiniest particles, like mold, pollen, and bacteria. So, you get better air quality and a healthier living environment.

Plus, there’s money to be saved. The filter extends the life of the HVAC equipment. And it cuts down on energy costs, too.

But check with an expert first. Your existing equipment may need changes or modifications. High MERV filters can create a pressure drop, so you need to be prepared.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Air Filters

To ensure clean and healthy indoor air, choosing the right air filter is crucial. When picking the perfect air filter for your furnace or AC system, various factors need consideration, from filter size and face area to filter material and depth, as well as pleats and airflow. In this article section about factors to consider when choosing air filters, we’ll discuss these subtopics briefly.

Filter Size and Face Area

Getting the correct filter size and face area is key for successful air filtration. The perfect size fits the unit perfectly, while the proper face area helps achieve the best airflow. See below for filter sizes and their face areas:

Filter SizeFace Area
12 x 12 x 10.75 sq. ft.
16 x 20 x 11.11 sq. ft.
20 x 20 x 23.33 sq. ft.
24 x 24 x 415 sq. ft.

Measuring your current filter is essential to make sure it’s compatible with the new one. An incorrect measurement can result in an incompatible size, leading to poor indoor air quality in both residential and commercial settings.

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure what size you need, ask an HVAC specialist or check your system’s user manual for measurements before buying filters. Finding the right filter material and depth is essential – just like picking the right swimsuit for a polar bear.

Filter Material and Depth 

The table shows the types of filter materials and depths:

Filter MaterialDepth (inches)

Choose filter material based on effectiveness. Pleated and electrostatic filters capture more pollutants than fiberglass. Thicker depth can affect the need to change the filter. HEPA filters have a higher efficiency but require an HVAC system that can handle thickness.

Pro Tip: Consult a professional for the best filter material and depth for your needs.

Ah, if only my ex had pleats as efficient as these air filters, our love could’ve gone the distance!

Pleats and Airflow

Air filters help us keep the air quality in our homes and offices nice. Pleats and airflow are two factors to think about when choosing one. Here’s why:

Column 1Column 2
More PleatsBetter Filtration Efficiency
Fewer PleatsGreater Airflow

You need to find a good balance between these two. More pleats can give better filtration, but that means lower airflow, which could hurt the system.

Other things to consider when picking an air filter include MERV ratings, material type, and if it works with your HVAC system.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to switch your air filter often. This will help keep the air clean and make sure the system performs well.

Low MERV filters might save you money, but you’ll be breathing in more dust than an ostrich in a sandstorm.

Higher MERV Filters and Energy Use

To understand the impact of higher MERV filters on your residential HVAC system, let me guide you through higher MERV filters and energy use. The sub-sections of Energy Use in Residential HVAC Systems, Money Savings, and ECM and PSC Motors offer solutions.

Energy Use in Residential HVAC Systems

  • Homeowners should be aware that their HVAC system consumes a significant amount of energy, which directly impacts their utility bills.
  • Cooling and heating account for approximately 6% and 41% of the total energy usage in residential HVAC systems, respectively. However, these percentages may vary depending on location and weather conditions.
  • The choice of air filters is crucial for HVAC systems. Most people use air filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating, ranging from 1 to 16. Higher MERV ratings are effective at trapping smaller particles, but they can also reduce airflow and increase electricity consumption by approximately 20%.

So, upgrade your filter and save some cash. Dust bunnies don’t like it, but you will!

Money Savings

A high MERV-rated furnace filter can lead to energy savings; here’s why:

  • It blocks pollutants and particles, improving air quality and reducing maintenance costs.
  • The upfront cost may be higher, but the long-term savings are worth it.
  • Cleaner air means improved respiratory health, resulting in fewer medical bills.
  • Your HVAC system will use less energy, emitting fewer greenhouse gases.
  • It will also prolong the system’s lifespan, saving you money in the future.

The actual money saved depends on factors such as the size and age of your space, climate, etc. To maximize savings, change filters every three months, insulate windows and doors, and seal air ducts.

Do this and you’ll save money and make a positive contribution to the environment. Upgrade to an energy-efficient ECM motor and your wallet and the planet will thank you.

ECM and PSC Motors

Two motors are usually used in HVAC systems: ECM and PSC. ECM is variable-speed and adjusts airflow based on demand. While PSC has a fixed speed and runs at full capacity all the time.

ECM MotorPSC Motor
Speed ControlAdjustableFixed
Energy EfficiencyHighly efficient; can save up to 70% energy compared to PSC motors.Uses more energy than ECM motors

Higher MERV filters need more pressure for air filtration, so both motor types use more energy. But ECM motors can save up to 70% energy compared to PSC motors, due to their speed control feature.

I remember working on an HVAC system installation for a client. They wanted high-level air filtration using higher MERV filters. We adjusted the ECM motor’s speed control setting instead of using the PSC motor, which saved a lot of energy. Also, my client got clean air and reduced energy bills.

High MERV Filters and Furnaces

To ensure optimal performance of your furnace, you need to use the right air filter. In this section, you’ll learn about whether high MERV filters are bad for your furnace. We’ll examine some key factors to understand this issue, such as Effects on Heat Exchanger and Blower Motor, Static Pressure and Total External Static Pressure (TESP), and Low Airflow and Cold Coils. These factors can provide you with valuable information to help you make an informed decision about the air filters you use in your home HVAC system.

Effects on Heat Exchanger and Blower Motor

High MERV filters and furnaces have potential impacts on the heat exchanger and blower motor – let’s investigate.

Decreased airflow from high MERV filters can cause the furnace heat to build, resulting in heat exchanger cracks. This poses a severe risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The blower motor also works harder, leading to higher energy consumption and costly repairs.

It’s essential to follow manufacturer filter replacement recommendations and maintain the system. To avoid risks, regular inspections by a licensed technician should be conducted. Consider investing in air purification methods like UV lights or electronic air cleaners.

Don’t let your safety or wallet suffer! Schedule regular maintenance checks with a professional technician now.

Static Pressure and Total External Static Pressure (TESP)

Static Pressure and Total External Static Pressure (TESP) are important terms in the HVAC industry. Static Pressure is the resistance on an air-moving system, caused by things like filters, ducts, and coils. TESP is the sum of all the resistances an air-handling system faces. It is crucial to understand these terms, as they influence the design of HVAC systems.

Look at this table to understand how static pressure and TESP affect HVAC performance:

ElementResistance Value
Filters0.1-0.6 in.wg
Ducts0.05-0.1 in.wg per 100ft
Coils0.05-0.3 in.wg

Factors like blocked vents and dirty coils can increase static pressure. This leads to higher energy bills and reduced indoor comfort.

Throughout history, HVAC professionals have tried to improve heating, cooling, and ventilation systems. High MERV filters were introduced with better filtration up to MERV 16. These filters require a more robust furnace to handle increased static pressure.

Don’t settle for a chilly home. Get low airflow and cold coils for your winter wonderland experience!

Low Airflow and Cold Coils

When it comes to HVAC systems, low airflow, and cold coils can be trouble. To fight this, high MERV filters and furnaces can help. These filters are good at trapping tiny particles and avoiding blockages. That allows for great airflow and warmer coils.

But it’s not just about the MERV rating. It’s also important to make sure the filter and furnace work together. If your furnace isn’t very efficient, a high MERV filter could actually reduce airflow too much.

Before making any changes, contact an HVAC expert. They can find the best combination of filter and furnace. That way your system will be running efficiently and without costly repairs.

Upgrade to high MERV filters and compatible furnaces for a well-functioning HVAC system. Get in touch with an expert today! And when you choose an air conditioner filter, remember: filtering out the bad stuff means enjoying the good stuff – like fresh, clean air – more.

High MERV Filters and Air Conditioners

To increase your air quality and prevent certain HVAC system problems, you need to know about the different types of air filters. In this section, we discuss high MERV filters and air conditioners. Specifically, we’ll cover how the efficiency of your air conditioner coils can be affected by high MERV rating filters, the accumulation of debris and pollen, and how high MERV filters can reduce ozone.

Air Conditioner Coils and Efficiency

My air conditioner’s evaporator coils need to be clean and obstruction-free to work properly. To trap more particulate matter, high MERV filters can help. But, using too high of a filter can strain the system and reduce its lifespan.

An electronic air cleaner is an alternative. It uses charged plates to trap particles and can be more effective than traditional filters. But, it may come with higher upfront costs.

Regular maintenance like cleaning and professional tune-ups can help AC coils work at peak efficiency. So, consider scheduling these services annually. This can extend your unit’s lifespan and prevent costly repairs.

Overall, regular maintenance and the right filters can improve AC efficiency and save money in the long run.

Debris and Pollen Accumulation

High MERV filters can help reduce the accumulation of debris and pollen in your air conditioning system. They capture microscopic allergens and pollutants that can cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions. Plus, they improve indoor air quality by reducing other harmful particulates.

The EPA states that using these filters could result in “substantial reductions” in airborne particulate matter exposure. This means better health for you and your family.

Not only that, but they can save you money too. A dirty filter causes HVAC strain, leading to higher energy bills and breakdowns. High MERV filters prevent debris and pollen from entering the system, resulting in less wear and tear.

So, if you want an easy way to improve your home’s air quality and save money on HVAC maintenance costs, upgrade to high MERV filters!

Ozone Reduction

Improving air quality? Ozone reduction is key! High MERV filters in air conditioners are effective. These filters trap and eliminate particles, like pollen, dust and smoke. This means fewer respiratory illnesses and asthma.

Using high MERV filters in air conditioners means you get better air quality and contribute to environmental conservation. They also reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, which helps with climate change.

High MERV filters date back to the industrial revolution. Researchers and engineers have been working on them ever since, leading to improved air quality standards.

Or, you could get an air purifier. But nothing quite beats vacuuming up all the dust bunnies and pretending it’s a victory over air pollution!

Air Purifiers and Other Alternatives

To help you improve air quality in your home without relying solely on furnace filters, let’s talk about air purifiers and other alternatives. In this section, we’ll explore the different types of air purifiers available and their effectiveness and cost compared to furnace filters. First, we’ll discuss the types of air purifiers that you might consider using in your home. Then, we’ll dive into the effectiveness and cost of these alternatives, so you can make an informed decision about what will work best for you.

Types of Air Purifiers

Air Purifiers – a must for people who care about their health. Many types are available. A table with pros & cons is below.

TypeHow it worksProsCons
HEPAFilters particlesHigh efficiency, helps allergiesExpensive filters
Activated CarbonAbsorbs odors, fumes, gasesRemoves VOCsNot effective against particulate matter
IonicNegative ions remove pollutantsQuiet, low energy useCan produce ozone which is bad
UV-C LightUV radiation kills certain bacteriaKills spores, certain bacteriaDoesn’t remove particulate matter

Alternative options, like plants, can also help. Spider plants absorb formaldehyde.

Investing in an air purifier or alternative is a good investment for your health. So don’t miss out! But be prepared to pay up!

Effectiveness and Cost

  • Air purifiers and other alternatives have varying levels of effectiveness and costs.
  • Understanding the value you get for the price is crucial in selecting the best option.
  • Comparing the effectiveness and cost of different options using a table can aid in making an informed decision.
  • For example, an air purifier with a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) may be more powerful but also more expensive compared to a tabletop air cleaner. However, the latter may only be suitable for small rooms.
  • It’s important to analyze the options further, taking into account factors such as filter replacements for air purifiers, which can incur additional costs.
  • Evaluating the total cost of ownership, including any extra expenses, is essential in determining the most cost-effective and efficient solution for your needs.

A friend of mine found out that an open window was the most effective and cost-efficient solution for their allergies. This may not work for everyone, but it shows why examining all possibilities is vital.

Mentioning MERV ratings is also essential when selecting an air purifier. It’s not a music style, but it’s critical for a great choice.


Maintaining good air quality indoors is essential for respiratory health. A MERV-rated filter can reduce dust, pollen, and other debris. Here’s a table to help you choose the right filter:

MERV RatingFiltration
1-4Particles above 10 microns (e.g., hair, dust mites)
5-8Particles 3-10 microns (e.g., mold spores, pet dander)
9-12Particles 1-3 microns (e.g., lead/metal dust, pollen)
13-16Particles 0.3-1 micron (e.g., bacteria and viruses)

Higher MERV-rated filters can trap more particles but may cause pressure drops in HVAC systems. You should consider factors such as filter size, face area, and pleat depth for optimal airflow and cleaner air. The MERV rating system was created by ASHRAE with industry experts. It provides standard guidelines for selecting air filters for HVAC systems. If you’re unsure, get professional advice or look for reliable sources like Amazon. Choose a filter based on your home’s specific needs. Generally, it’s best to replace filters every three months, or as recommended by manufacturers.