When it comes to air quality, higher MERV ratings are the most effective. However, they can also cause damage to your HVAC system. A higher MERV rating means greater resistance, which in turn reduces airflow. When researching HVAC systems, it's important to consider the airflow that will be generated.
The higher the filter rating, the smaller the particles it will capture and the higher the percentage of particles that will be filtered out. Low-efficiency filters are generally within MERV 1-4 and high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and later. The MERV scale is not linear; the difference between a MERV 6 and a MERV 8 is almost double in terms of the percentage of particles captured. Keep in mind that as the MERV rating increases, the filter becomes more restrictive and more pressure and energy will be needed to propel the air. When installing an air cleaner with a high MERV rating, two things happen: your air becomes cleaner, which can help improve the longevity of your HVAC system; and the filter becomes more restrictive, reducing airflow. However, there are many other factors at play, such as the size of the filter and the type of fan motor in your HVAC system. Using an air filter with a MERV rating that is too high is as bad as using one that is too low.
Air filters with higher MERV ratings can filter more, but the thickness of the filter material can restrict airflow. Restricted airflow can decrease comfort, increase energy use, and accelerate wear and tear on HVAC components. In particular, using an air cleaner with a MERV rating that is too high can damage the compressor, heat exchanger, and air conditioner coil. If someone has an allergy or respiratory problem, choose a MERV 11 air filter or even a MERV 13 air filter. If you want to use pleated filters and superior MERV filters, the only safe way to do this is to have a 5-6 inch media filter installed by a professional.
It seems that using the high-merv filter media, blasting it with compressed air, and then inserting the filter into a pocket of the DIY face mask between two layers of cloth would be enough. Finally, it's important to remember that there is no price for peace of mind. If you feel that a high MERV filter would provide this peace of mind, you should do so with the caveat that you should replace dirty filters often enough - which can be a week or two depending on the MERV rating, effective area of the filter, and how many particles enter your home. Once you understand how the MERV leaderboard works, you can choose air filters with the MERV ratings that are right for you. The higher MERV rating means that an air filter will capture more dust particles while a lower rating means that fewer particles will be filtered out. Also, if you're trying this modification of the MERV13 filter yourself, it's best to create many filter discs and change them after each exposure to several people. In addition, high MERV air filters that contain pleats create much more surface area for air to blow through which can improve airflow and reduce strain on your system.
If you're worried about inhaling fine air particles, then it's best to choose a MERV 11 air filter instead of a MERV 8 air filter. Finally, if you're looking for peace of mind when it comes to filtering out unwanted particles from your home's air supply then using a Merv13 pleated air conditioner filter as part of your mask is one way to go about it. However, keep in mind that these filters may need to be changed more frequently than lower rated ones - such as every week or two - depending on their effective area and how many particles enter your home.