The MERV 11 filter is made of a thicker material than the MERV 8, meaning more energy is consumed to allow enough air to pass through. This can cause a slow deterioration of the components of the air conditioning system, so it's important to maintain your furnace regularly. But is a MERV 11 filter really hard on your furnace? The short answer is yes, but it's not really a problem unless in extreme circumstances. Most modern HVAC systems have no issue operating with higher MERV filters, which is why millions of homeowners rely on them.
The main risk of high-efficiency air filters comes from not changing them often enough. If you keep up with regular filter changes, it's unlikely that you'll experience any filter-related problems in your air conditioning system. MERV 11 filters are more efficient than MERV 8 filters because they can capture smaller particles, such as pet dander, dust mites, auto emissions, and dust that can damage the lungs. This makes them a great option for homes with pets or those looking for even better air quality than the MERV 8 can offer.
Research shows that, in general, air conditioning systems with filters that are high in MERV have a greater pressure drop across the filter. This is true for two MERV 11 filters that have the same filtering capacity but allow more air to be transferred. This is especially beneficial for homes with smokers or pets, since MERV 11 air filters better eliminate odors. According to the EPA, a MERV 8 filter means that it is capable of capturing 20% or more of particles from 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size and 70% or more of particles from 3.0 to 10.0 microns in size.
The MERV scale is not linear; the difference between a MERV 6 and a MERV 8 is almost double in terms of the percentage of particles captured. MERV 14, 15 and 16 filters are often used in specialized applications where high-level filtration is required, such as hospital operating rooms and other environments where it is crucial to capture even the smallest particles, including bacteria and viruses. They also found that the air flow in filters with a high MERV content decreased by 7% and 11% in the two air conditioning systems, compared to the filters with a low MERV content. In particular, using an air filter with a MERV rating that is too high can damage the compressor, heat exchanger, and air conditioner coil.
Air filters with a MERV 13 rating or higher are recommended for those who prioritize air quality and may need to treat cases of asthma, serious allergies, and other similar circumstances. As an expert in HVAC systems and air filtration systems, I can confidently say that using a MERV 11 filter will not be hard on your furnace if you keep up with regular maintenance and filter changes. The benefits of using this type of filter far outweigh any potential risks associated with it. It's important to remember that while these filters are great for improving indoor air quality and eliminating odors from pets or smoking, they should not be used if your HVAC system isn't designed to handle them. If you're unsure about whether your system can handle a higher-efficiency filter like the MERV 11, it's best to consult an expert before making any changes.