MERV 11 oven filters have a particle arrest rate of just over 90%, while MERV 13 HVAC filters have a particle arrest rate of around 98%. This makes the latter significantly more efficient. But what is a Merv rating? It is the primary rating system used for air filtration, and it indicates how much dust particles and other contaminants can pass through the filter. The higher the MERV rating, the less particles can pass through.
The MERV 13 air filters provide additional filtration power against fine particles compared to MERV 11 filters. They are also capable of filtering smoke, airborne viruses, and smog, making them especially useful in heavily polluted areas or areas affected by wildfires. However, there is an associated price difference and airflow resistance when increasing the MERV level. In addition to pet dander, smoke, smog, and air from coughs and sneezes, MERV 11 filters also trap microfine fiberglass particles.
On the other hand, MERV 8 filters are known to be effective at filtering contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, sawdust, mold spores, and lint from the air. Higher MERV ratings will clean the air even more. When it comes to price versus peace of mind, there is no price for peace of mind. If people feel that a high MERV filter would provide them with that peace of mind, they should go for it.
However, they should also remember to replace dirty filters often enough - which can be a week or two depending on the MERV rating, the effective area of the filter and the amount of particles that enter your home. A MERV 8 carbon filter will provide more than enough filtering of dust and allergens and will filter dozens of toxic gases that will pass directly through a MERV 13 filter. Washing with alcohol could create some strange chemicals unless you are just washing cotton; in this case, you should use sunlight to disinfect them. A high-MERV activated carbon filter could be your best option if you are dealing with any other exotic chemical action.
Finally, although MERV 11 filters are slightly more expensive at a cost of a few dollars, they can improve indoor air quality to help relieve people with respiratory problems. ASHRAE recommends MERV 13 and 14; however, it's best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific HVAC system.