Furnace filters are rated using the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). MERV ratings range from 1 to 16. The higher the rating the more particles the filter can remove (check out the infographic below — courtesy airfilterbuy.com — to get an idea of what each MERV rating can 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.
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