Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rates the overall effectiveness of air filters. Higher MERV ratings correspond to greater filtration efficiency. The MERV 13 filter is highly efficient and can capture both large and microscopic particles, including bacteria, viruses, and allergens. It's commonly used in settings requiring superior air quality like hospitals and laboratories.
However, whether you need a MERV 13 filter for your commercial building to achieve good indoor air quality depends on several factors:
Type of Business: If your commercial building houses a regular office, retail store, or restaurant, a MERV 8 to MERV 12 filter is usually adequate. However, if your business involves sensitive work such as healthcare services, laboratories, or if you deal with immunocompromised individuals, you might need a MERV 13 or higher filter.
Local Air Quality: If your building is in an area with poor outdoor air quality (such as high levels of pollution or pollen), a higher MERV rating like MERV 13 can be beneficial.
Building Occupancy: If your building has high traffic, the risk of airborne pathogens is higher. A higher MERV rating can help to lower this risk.
HVAC System Capacity: Your current heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system needs to be able to handle the increased airflow resistance of a higher MERV filter. If the system isn't designed for it, installing a high MERV filter could reduce air flow, leading to poor indoor air quality and potentially damaging the HVAC system.
Maintenance: High MERV filters tend to get clogged more quickly, so they require more frequent replacement or cleaning. You should consider whether you can commit to the maintenance a MERV 13 filter requires.
In conclusion, while a MERV 13 filter provides better filtration, it is not necessarily required for all commercial buildings. It would be advisable to conduct an assessment of your specific needs and consult with an HVAC professional before making a decision. In the context of COVID-19 or similar airborne diseases, it may also be important to follow local health department guidelines and recommendations.