Does a MERV 12 Filter Remove Smoke?

MERV filters from 9 to 12 are great for general household use. They can effectively remove most of the dust particles that are present in homes and offices. These filters also allow enough air to pass through them, so that the blower of the oven remains cool. The cost of these filters is usually moderate and fits within many budgets. The American Lung Association recommends using a filter with a MERV rating of 13 or higher, as long as it is compatible with your central air system.

The MERV rating of the filter is determined by the worst performance in all three particle sizes during each of the 6 cycles. Using an air filter with a MERV rating higher than what is recommended by the manufacturer of your oven or air conditioner may reduce its performance. MERV 17 to MERV 20 filters are commonly used in operating rooms, cleanrooms, and other settings that require absolute cleanliness. Filters with higher MERV ratings are more effective at trapping small particles than those with lower ratings. The Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how well it prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through it into the air stream.

Generally, filters with a MERV 16 rating or lower are considered HVAC system grade filters for residential, commercial, and general hospital use. So, does a MERV 12 filter remove smoke? The answer is yes, but it depends on the type of smoke. A MERV 12 filter can remove smoke particles that are larger than 10 microns in size. However, it may not be able to remove smaller particles such as those found in cigarette smoke.