Do I Need an Air Purifier with My MERV 8 Filter?

Some people think that they can get the same air filtration results as an air purifier by using a superior MERV air filter in their air conditioning system. This is because a MERV 8 filter is considered to be a higher level of filtration compared to air filters with a lower MERV rating. But is filtration enough?In many cases, a MERV 8 air filter is more than adequate. However, if you're worried about outdoor air pollution, family members with respiratory issues, or the presence of pets at home, then opting for a higher MERV rating might be a good idea.

It's important to note that the supplied air must pass through the filter in order for it to capture particles. The data from Filtrete indicates that the 1500 eliminated 54 percent of 0.3 to 1 micron particles in its own tests, compared to a minimum of 35 percent for Nordic Pure, with MERV 12 certification. A higher MERV rating often means lower airflow, which can make the system work harder and use more energy to do its job. The MERV rating indicates how efficient the air filter is at filtering particles of certain sizes. MERV 13 filters, for example, also remove bacteria, tobacco smoke, car fumes, insecticide dust, pet dander, and more.

Most residential areas can remove contaminants with MERV 8 to MERV 13, while most hospitals use MERV 14 to MERV 20. To make sure it fits you properly, take out your current air filter and check the size printed on the frame. You need a separate appliance that is designed for the specific purpose of pushing air through a dense filter. So much so that running an air conditioning system in a room where an air purifier has already reduced the concentration of particles, will actually increase the concentration of particles in the room. In addition, an extensive test of the effects of 8 to 13 MERV filters on air flow and HVAC energy consumption concluded that even “if measures are not taken for the greatest pressure drop of high-MERV filters, the air flow and energy penalties are unlikely to be serious”.The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHARE) recommends a MERV 6 or higher.

So when it comes to deciding whether or not you need an air purifier with your MERV 8 filter, it really depends on your individual needs and preferences. If you're looking for superior filtration and protection from airborne particles such as bacteria and viruses, then an air purifier may be your best bet. However, if you're looking for basic filtration and don't have any specific health concerns or allergies, then a high-quality MERV 8 filter may be enough.