Are MERV 13 filters the right choice for protecting against COVID-19? While a MERV 13 filter is a step in the right direction and captures more particles than a typical MERV 8 filter, it is not as effective at capturing small virus-sized particles as a HEPA filter. A MERV 13 filter will trap less than 75% of air particles that are 0.3-1.0 microns in size, while coronavirus is 0.1 microns. Additionally, many existing HVAC systems are not designed to handle the greater fan load of finer filter media, which can actually reduce airflow and cause more harm than good. On average, many installations are limited to one type of MERV 8 or MERV 9 filter.
It is important to note that even filters with the same rating may not be able to remove VOCs* from the air. HEPA filters are the most efficient for residential or commercial use, followed by MERV 13-16 filters. Considering the threat posed by the spread of COVID-19 and other germs, upgrading a building's air filter to a HEPA is a much more effective step than just a MERV 13 due to the small size of a virus (0.06-0.12 microns). A HEPA filter is essentially the ultimate solution in the air filter world and far exceeds what a MERV 13 can do.
However, HEPA filters cause a greater pressure drop than MERV rated filters, so it is important to ensure that your HVAC system is designed to handle this type of filter. Additionally, for residential filters in slots that are a little loose, a simple piece of tape can be used to hold it in place and allow the air flow to push the filter forward to engage the flat surface in front of it. At RP Fedder, we sell a full range of MERV 13+ filters and can help you determine what types of filters and efficiency ratings you need for your home or business. With our expertise, you can be sure that you are taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19.