When it comes to dealing with wildfire smoke, many public health and air quality experts recommend using a MERV 13 filter. MERV, or “minimum efficiency reporting value”, is a scale of 1 to 20 that rates a filter's ability to capture particulate matter. A MERV 13 air filter is an ideal choice for filtering out fine particles in wildfire smoke without restricting airflow. This is essential for comfort and can help the HVAC system work efficiently when the air conditioner is in recirculation mode.
Some experts suggest using a MERV 13 or higher, but opting for a much higher version could be problematic unless the filter is only used in the short term and as long as wildfire smoke remains a threat. For wildfire season, it is best to order a furnace filter with more filtration. MERV filters 13 to 16 can reduce interior particles by up to 95%.