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Is a MERV 11 Filter Worth It? A San Antonio Tech Answers

January 22, 2021

If you’ve been considering installing a MERV 11 filter or have been told by an HVAC professional that you should, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth the cost.

In our opinion, MERV 11 filters are a great option for keeping your home’s air quality high and are recommended by the EPA.

That being said, you probably have questions about what the benefits of a MERV 11 filter are, so below, we’ll explain what MERV stands for, and why we suggest MERV 11 filters for San Antonio homeowners.


Rather have an HVAC professional help you decide whether a MERV 11 filter works best for you ASAP? Contact Jon Wayne.


What does MERV stand for?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a measurement scale that indicates how effective an AC filter is. Residential AC filters range from MERV 1-16.

The higher the MERV rating, the higher the percentage of airborne particles a filter can successfully catch. All filters are tested for how well they catch particles based on the size of the particle.

The three size categories of particles include:

  • E1: 0.3 to 1.0 micrometers
  • E2: 1.0 to 3.0 micrometers
  • E3: 3.0 to 10.0 micrometers

As a reference for exactly how big a micrometer (µm) is, a strand of human hair is 20 µm in diameter.

To summarize, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller (and more) airborne particles the filter can catch, making it more effective.

Now that we’ve covered what MERV ratings mean, let’s meet our contender for the best MERV rating.

Why is MERV 11 the ideal filter rating?

MERV 11 filters are ideal because they are effective at catching small particles, while still allowing enough air to pass through the filter.

Using the size categories above, a MERV 11 filter can successfully catch65% of E2 particles (1.0 - 3.0 µm) and 85% of E3 particles (3.0 - 10.0 µm). Since they can catch bacteria, mold and fungi, MERV 11 filters can prevent contaminants from circulating in your home’s air.

MERV 11 filters are especially useful if your household has …

  • Allergy sufferers: MERV 11 filters can trap pet dander, pollen, dust and mold.
  • Heavy smokers: If your home is full of smoke, MERV 11 filters can catch the particles to help you breathe easier.
  • Elderly people (65+ years old) or young children (5 years old or below) with respiratory problems: If you live in a metropolitan area and experience heavy pollution that might irritate your lungs, MERV 11 filters can help improve your indoor air quality.

Should you buy a MERV 11 or 15 filter?

You might be wondering why we are suggesting a MERV 11 filter instead of a higher filter like a 14 or 15.

Generally speaking, it's not recommended to go above a 11 MERV rating. The higher the MERV rating, the more tightly woven the filter is, which makes it difficult for air to pass through. If your AC doesn’t get enough airflow, it can cause something called a pressure drop, which can lead to high AC bills and AC damage.

What exactly are pressure drops? They occur when air is slow to enter your AC system and they can lead to:

  • Increased AC bills: If your AC can’t circulate enough air, your AC will have to work longer to produce the same amount of cooled air. Over time, this increased energy use means increased monthly utility bills.
  • AC Damage: Lack of airflow can cause your AC coils to freeze, which can damage your AC compressor. If your compressor becomes damaged, you could be looking at an expensive repair.

All-in-all, we recommend MERV 11 filters because they are effective at filtering out fine particles, but also allow sufficient airflow to your AC system.

Want a MERV 11 Filter? Send for Jon Wayne

Our highly-skilled technicians have over 20 years of experience helping San Antonio homeowners with their MERV 11 filter needs.

Schedule with us today! You can click the button below or call us at (210) 293-5550.

*All prices shown are estimates and can vary depending on a variety of factors. For an accurate price for your project, call (210) 293-6700.

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