Can my furnace handle a MERV 13 filter?

Asked By: Jerold Worto | Last Updated: 29th January, 2020
Category: home and garden indoor environmental quality
4.3/5 (5,444 Views . 12 Votes)
MERV filters 1-4 are only good for blocking large particles from damaging your furnace. The ideal MERV filters for both air filtering and furnace efficiency are 7-13, experts say. These filters can be used without any modifications to your equipment. Your system may handle MERV 14-16 with no discernable stress.

Click to see full answer


Herein, what MERV rating can my furnace handle?

Higher rated filters allow less air to flow through though and can force your furnace to work harder and possibly malfunction. A MERV rating between eight and 11 is adequate for most homes. To be safe, you should check if your furnace manufacturer has a maximum MERV rating your model of furnace can use.

Also, can I use a MERV 13 filter? Anything above a 13 MERV rating is considered to be a High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filter, often used for hospitals and scientific research lab applications. In general, filters with higher MERV ratings have smaller pores through which air can pass, while still capturing allergens.

In this regard, will MERV 13 hurt my furnace?

Here's the problem: Some filters with a high MERV rating can drop air pressure in your duct system, which can increase energy bills and damage your HVAC system. For example, let's say you have a pleated filter that's 1-inch thick and has a 13 MERV rating.

Does higher MERV rating restrict airflow?

A decade ago, it used to be that if you had an HVAC system that used panel filters rated 6 through 9 MERV, putting in a MERV 11 or higher filter would restrict airflow (known as filter pressure drop). In turn, this would lengthen the system's run-time, adding to your heating and cooling costs.

39 Related Question Answers Found

Is MERV 13 too restrictive?

MERV is a good way to help judge the effectiveness of an air filter. In some cases, using an air filter that is too restrictive for your system may cause low air flow problems as well. MERV 13 is the highest MERV value safe for residential furnaces; the higher ratings are used primarily in commercial units.

Will MERV 11 hurt my furnace?

Keep in mind that a MERV rating higher than 13 could negatively affect some HVAC systems, so it is advisable to verify that your unit can handle a higher rating before you make your purchase. According to Alex Hertzog, our in-house air filtration expert, MERV 11 filters are recommended.

Does Merv 8 restrict airflow?

Because they restrict airflow to your HVAC system. Pleated, high-MERV filters definitely capture a lot of pollutants, but they also restrict the movement of air into your blower or furnace. When you need better filtration than what a 1" MERV 8 filter can provide, the best solution is to invest in…

What Merv is too high?


Higher MERV ratings (from 13 to 16) are needed to remove bacteria and smoke particles. At the top of the scale are HEPA filters with MERV ratings from 17 to 20, which can filter out particles smaller than 0.3 microns, including some viruses.

Can I use a smaller filter in my furnace?

For most systems you can use a standard sized filter within 5/8-in smaller than the air filter housing. If you are not able to find a standard sized filter within that parameter, you will need to order a custom sized air filter.

What does MERV 10 mean on furnace filter?

The higher the MERV rating on a filter, the fewer dust particles and contaminants can pass through it. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers designed the MERV rating to show a filter's worst possible performance at removing particles ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns in size.

Is MERV 8 good enough?

MERV 5–8 (good): These filters are better at catching small particles (3–10 microns) like mold spores, hair spray, dust mites and animal dander. MERV 13–16 (best): These filters are usually only found in hospitals because they can capture particles as small as 1–0.03 microns in size.

What happens if furnace filter is backwards?

By installing your filter backwards, air will have a harder time flowing through the filter and your air handler will have to work harder to make up for the loss of airflow. That arrow must always face toward the furnace and away from the return duct that carries the air in need of heating or cooling.

When should I change my MERV 13 filter?


For Merv 8, 11 and 13 filters, we recommend that you change your filter at least every 3 months, however changing your filter every 2 months provides better filtration which provides healthier and cleaner air in your home.

Can a furnace filter be too restrictive?

Burnt out motors and controls can result from too-restrictive filters. Coils, motors, and blowers can also easily become clogged by weak filters creating higher fan usage resulting in higher energy costs.

Which way does the airflow in my furnace?

If you are looking at a furnace filter, find the arrow that indicates the proper air flow direction. That arrow must always face toward the furnace and away from the return duct that carries the air in need of heating or cooling.

Are Filtrete filters too restrictive?

Typically, any filter with a MERV rating higher than 12 (or equivalently MPR 1500 in the case of 3M Filtrete filters) is too restrictive for most residential air conditioning systems; they are typically designed for commercial HVAC systems.

Are cheap furnace filters better?

Cheap fiberglass filters are designed to stop dust, debris and hair from gunking up the system. While pleated filters will do a better job of cleaning the air than fiberglass, there are better options to clean the air efficiently without adding stress to the system.

Do I need filters in my return vents?

The Case for a Return Duct Filter
Regular maintenance is certainly recommended, but adding a return air filter can help to block some of this incoming debris and ensure that the air coming in is clean. Clean air means a clean system.

How do I know what MERV filter to use?

The MERV scale is a standard measure of the ability of a filter to remove particles from your home's air. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with lower ratings denoting a lower-quality filter. MERV 1-4 Filters: Filters with a MERV rating of 1 to 4 do little to trap harmful particles in your home's air.