Is a Merv 8 rating sufficient for air filtration in average residential homes? The answer is an unequivocal yes. A MERV 8 filter can stop mold spores, pollen, and most cleaning products, making it a great choice for the average home. However, individual circumstances may require a filter with a higher MERV rating. If you or someone else in your household smokes, you should opt for a filter with a higher MERV rating.
For those who are susceptible to allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, a filter with a MERV rating of 10 to 12 is recommended. The MERV rating system provides a standard for comparing air filters from different manufacturers and allows you to make comparisons between filters to determine which is most efficient for your specific application. The highest MERV rating we would recommend outside of doctors' offices and rooms designed for surgeries is MERV 13. MERV 13 air filters also help new buildings achieve LEED certification. Unlike other scales, which emphasized the need to increase the number of particles passing through an air filter, MERV was designed to offer a balance between particle filtering and energy efficiency.
The table below shows the minimum threshold at which a filter must operate to obtain a specific MERV rating. Going back to the MERV table above, you'll notice that filters can capture emissions from cars with a MERV of 9 to 12. Another factor driving the popularity of MERV 8 filters is that they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. In 1987, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the MERV rating scale to provide a more accurate picture of an air filter's capabilities. MERV deals with microscopic particles, and it can be difficult to imagine such a tiny measurement without a little perspective.
Therefore, it is important to consider all factors when selecting an air filter for your home or workplace.