The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers created the MERV system. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value.
The MERV rating system helps to determine the efficiency of air filters. MERV ratings or MERV scale range from 1 to 16. Many people are lost when choosing between MERV 11 and MERV 13.
We look at MERV 11 v MERV 13 filters in this article. We compare the two in terms of efficiency, performance, airflow resistance, and costs. You will decide about these two air filter ratings at the end of the article.
What is Merv 11?
MERV 11 has a higher filter performance rating than MERV 8 filters in the MERV rating system. A MERV 11 furnace filter will effectively trap common airborne contaminants.
Such contaminants include pet dander, dust particles, and carpet fibers. Also, MERV 11 filters will remove foul odors from your house.
Any good MERV rating chart will show that MERV 11 is not particularly effective against small particles. If you live in a highly polluted area, you may have to use a higher MERV rating.
- More efficient than lower ratings like MERV 8. MERV 11 traps a bigger percentage of both small and average-sized particles
- MERV 11 causes less airflow resistance than high MERV rating ones
- MERV 11 can remove odors from cooking, smoking, and liquors
- MERV 11 is less likely to damage the air conditioner coil and other components. It is because it causes a lower pressure drop than MERV 13
- MERV 11 filters are less efficient than those of higher MERV rating
- MERV 11 is not the best filter for trapping small particles
What is Merv 13?
MERV 13 are some of the best filters for maximum air quality. They can trap even the tiniest particles between 0.1 and 0.3 microns. The only major concern of using MERV 13 filters is airflow resistance.
A MERV 13 filter can cause serious problems to your HVAC system. It causes a massive pressure drop on the other side of the system. This can easily destroy your heat exchanger.
- A MERV 13 filter has an average efficiency rate of 98%. Such a filter can remove high percentages of airborne contaminants of all sizes.
- A MERV 13 filter is effective for improving indoor air quality. Such a filter can deal with bad odors.
- A filter with a MERV rating of 13 can prevent airborne diseases like asthma and coughing.
- A MERV 13 furnace filter causes a higher pressure drop than a low MERV filter.
- A MERV 13 filter can easily damage the air conditioning system because of airflow resistance.
Comparison of Features of Merv 11 and Merv 13 Filters
Merv 11 vs. Merv 13: Allergen Removal Capabilities
Allergens are small particles that may cause allergic reactions. People are sensitive to different materials or allergens. Some common allergens are mold spores, dust particles, and even smoke.
Allergens vary in terms of particle sizes. Some, like smoke, are made of small particles. Others, like pet dander and dust particles, are large.
MERV 8 and higher filters are capable of removing allergens. But the percentage of the different types of allergens they can trap varies. A MERV 8 filter will remove dust particles and pet dander. But this MERV rating is not enough to remove finer particles.
MERV 13 filters have a higher air filtration capacity than MERV 11 ones. MERV 13 furnace filters can trap minute particles like airborne bacteria and viruses. They can also trap particles that measure between 1 and 3 microns wide. Examples of such particles are dust mite, lint, and humidifier dust.
MERV 11 filters trap between 65% and 79% of average-sized particles. These are particles that measure between 1 and 3 microns. Most of the common allergens in a house fall within this size.
But MERV 13 filters trap much higher percentages of such allergens. Also, MERV 13 filters trap smaller particles like viruses and bacteria that MERV 8 and even MERV 11 cannot trap.
Merv 11 vs. Merv 13: Mold Reduction Capabilities
Any furnace filter with at least MERV 8 can remove mold spores from your home. But filters with higher MERV ratings are more effective in reducing mold growth in your home. So, MERV 11 and MERV 13 filters are more effective than MERV 8 filters in removing mold spores.
Although MERV 13 filters are more effective than MERV 11 ones in removing mold, they may not be the best always. The thickness of the filter material of a furnace may restrict airflow in your HVAC system. A MERV 13 furnace filter with thick material can restrict airflow.
Airflow restrictions are bad for your air conditioning unit. The pressure drop may damage some components in your system. You should make a compromise between having high-quality air and protecting your system.
If you do not need higher MERV ratings, you can even go for MERV 8 filters. They still work perfectly in preventing mold growth in your home.
Merv 11 vs. Merv 13: Odor Removal Capabilities
Any MERV filter rating of more than 8 is enough to deal with bad odors. Bad odors come from many different sources. Common causes are cooking, cleaning detergents, smoking, and liquors. The bad odors arise from small particles that float in the air around the premises.
Removing bad odors can dramatically improve indoor air quality in your home. Different MERV ratings vary in their odor removal capabilities. But MERV 13 is more effective in removing odors than MERV 11. MERV 13 filters can trap small particles that cause bad odors in your home.
The odors may be coming from automobile smoke, tobacco smoke, and liquors. Such small particles usually measure even less than 1 micron wide.
MERV 11 filters can still remove bad odors from your home. MERV 11 furnace filters are effective in trapping average and large-sized particles. If the odor comes from average and large-sized particles, your MERV 11 filters will work.
It is always a good idea to check the ratings of your HVAC filters. You can then choose the right MERV filters based on your needs. If you need a higher MERV filter, you can go for 13.
Merv 11 vs Merv 13: Efficiency
The efficiency of an air filter determines the overall indoor air quality. The higher the efficiency of your furnace filters, the higher the air quality in your home.
A filter with a higher MERV rating is more efficient than one with a lower rating. So, MERV 13 and 11 filters are more efficient than MERV 8 filters.
MERV 13 furnace filters are more efficient than MERV 11 ones. MERV 13 furnace filters can remove up to 98% of all airborne particles. The particles range from small ones that measure between 0.3 and 1 microns wide to large ones.
The largest solid contaminants usually measure between 3 and 10 microns wide. For reference, a piece of human hair measures less than one micron in diameter.
Although higher MERV ratings mean great air quality, there are consequences. Filters with higher MERV ratings have equally higher airflow resistance. Such filters produce a great pressure drop in your heating and cooling system.
The high-pressure drop may damage some of the sensitive components in your system. The components include the blower or air handler. So, you should get an air filter of the right MERV rating. Such a filter will balance indoor air quality and the need to keep your HVAC system free of damage.
Merv 11 vs Merv 13: Particle Size
Although MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, getting a person using a MERV 1 filter is rare. Similarly, people hardly use MERV 16 filters. There are clear differences in the particle sizes that MERV 13 and MERV 11 filters can trap.
The differences are the percentages of the particles in every category that the filters can trap. The category sizes are: small, average, and large.
Small particles range from 0.3 to 0.1 microns wide. Average-sized particles range from 1 to 3 microns in diameter. Large particles measure from 3 to 10 microns in diameter.
Pet dander, carpet fibers, and dust particles are examples of large particles. Airborne bacteria and viruses are examples of small particles.
MERV 11 filters can trap 65% to 79% of average-sized airborne contaminants. These are solid particles that are 1 to 3 microns wide. Such particles are very common in homes.
MERV 8 is also capable of trapping such average-sized particles. But MERV 8 filters may trap only about 60% of average-sized particles. MERV 13 filters trap up to 85% of average-sized airborne contaminants. Also, MERV 13 furnace filters trap about 60% of microparticles.
Stand out Features of Merv 13 Air Filter
According to the MERV scale, MERV 13 furnace filters are among the best in performance. You can compare a MERV 13 filter with its equivalent in other scales like the Filter Performance Rating. The result will be the same.
MERV 13 has a superior air filtration performance. MERV 13 furnace filters can trap up to 98% of airborne particles. But the actual percentages vary with the sizes of the particles.
The good news is that MERV 13 filters can trap particles from all size categories. They can trap microparticles that measure between 0.1 and 0.3 microns wide. They can also trap average-sized microns 1 to 3 microns in diameter.
Is MERV 13 Better than MERV 11?
MERV 13 has superior filtration ability. It can remove higher percentages of indoor air pollutants than MERV 11. A MERV 13 air filter has an efficiency of about 98%. A MERV 11 furnace filter has an efficiency of about 90%. So, MERV 13 furnace or air handler filters are better than MERV 11 ones.
When should I Use MERV 11?
You should use MERV 11 if you live in a moderately polluted area. MERV 11 is enough to capture airborne particles that are common in households. They include dust mites, pet dander, and smoke. Such contaminants usually reduce the overall indoor air quality. But if you need a filter with a higher MERV rating, you may go for 13.
When should I Use MERV 13?
You should use MERV 13 if you live in heavily polluted areas. MERV 13 has a high-efficiency rate. It can trap high percentages of finer particles like tobacco smoke. This will give you cleaner air than using a lower MERV rating. It will also protect you from allergies.
Merv 11 vs. Merv 13 Pressure Drop
MERV 13 has a higher pressure drop than MERV 11. A MERV 13 filter will cause higher airflow resistance than a MERV 11 furnace filter. The high-pressure drop caused by a MERV 13 filter may damage the blower motor of your HVAC system. The entire system may stop working because of the damage.
Merv 11 vs Merv 13 Covid
MERV 13 filters can be effective against COVID-19. The filters can capture particles that are between 0.1 and 0.3 microns wide. The COVID-19 virus is a microparticle. If you install a MERV 13 filter in your home, it will prevent the spread of the virus. MERV 11 cannot trap particles within this range.
Merv 11 vs. Merv 13 Airflow
MERV 13 filters restrict airflow more than MERV 11 filters. MERV 13 air filters are more efficient in trapping particles and keeping the air clean. But MERV 13 furnace filters restrict airflow in the HVAC system. So, MERV 13 furnace filters can easily damage your heating and cooling system.
Merv 11 vs Merv 13 Cost
A higher MERV-rated filter is more expensive than a lower MERV-rated one. So, MERV 13 costs more than MERV 11 filters. Also, you may have to replace your MERV 13 filter more often than MERV 11 ones. MERV 13 filters need to change fast because they attract and trap many contaminants, including dust particles.
In this article, we have looked at MERV 11 vs. MERV 13. The MERV rating shows the filter’s ability to trap different types of airborne contaminants.
A MERV 13 filter has a higher microparticle performance rating than a MERV 11 filter. MERV 13 can trap high percentages of smaller particles than MERV 13 furnace filters.
MERV 13 filters are effective in preventing airborne diseases. They can trap very tiny particles, including airborne bacteria. Such particles cause airborne diseases and allergic reactions. Thus, use MERV 13 filters if you live in a highly polluted environment.
However, MERV 13 causes a higher pressure drop than MERV 11. Therefore, a MERV 13 furnace filter is more likely to damage your HVAC system than a MERV 11 filter.
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