Is this predatory in today's environment - Ecobee subscription filters

I just got this email and went ahead and checked it out and it left me stunned. They make sure to show virus protection with MERV 13. That seems like it's an attempt to cash in on the coronavirus epidemic.

Nothing wrong with MERV 13. I've run them for several years because several of us have extremely severe allergies with asthma.

Here is the profittering part, not only do they try to scare you into MERV 13, it's 3 times the cost I currently pay.

They can't be bothered to fix the reliability of their servers or the battery pin issues of their smart sensors, but they can scaremonger.....

It all depends on what they are charging. For EVERYONE, the MERV 13 filters do filter out most virus particles.; however, they are expensive and are useful, but limited when you are staying at-home. Hint: During spring / fall (when AC/Heater do not run much), set you system fan to manual on for several hours a day. This will draw the air through the system (filters) as well as increase outside air integration into your house.

For me, I normally use MERV 11. A little more expensive, but they remove allergens and dust. From day to day, these help my allergies and please my cleaning lady (a lot less dust the the bulk (MERV 7) filters. Same Hint on manual mode on applies.

See chart below. The Coronavirus is ~ 0.1 micron in size (first column)>

We actually run the fan at least 10 minutes an hour. In those months.

I also used to use a Foobot that would auto turn on the fan, but wasn't the most accurate. I now use a Airthings WavePlus and a custom RPi Zero W with a laser PM2.5 sensor that feed Hubitat via python scripts and the MakerAPI. I have rules to turn on the fan for "bad" air" (12 for PM2.5, 950 for CO2, 300 for tVOC) in Hubitat. Technically I could read PM5 and PM10 but I don't.

I didn't list price because it will vary for everyone based on number of intakes and sizes. I use this brand Here is my last order.
126.08 for 12 MERV13 20"x25" and 12 MERV13 14"x14".
Ecobee wants 71.82 for 2 of each. So 12 are 430.92.

So 3.4 times as much. Admittedly I coupon shop HARD, but I also didn't account for my Honey cashback.

It just seems suspicious that they are so much more and they claim virus protection in the current climate. But on the other hand unfortunately I'm currently under the clinical definition of paranoid right now.

I had a good Air Quality Sensor. It recorded 0 PM1, PM2.5 and PM 10 in my house. Had to put in the garage or outside to see if it really worked.

A match or candle blown out is a good first pass test. It will spike the number crazy high. Cooking is a good way to tell. Cleaning up a solution of some sort sometimes does. Our most recent spike was starting trays of herbs and flowers and repotting a few indoor plants. She spilled some dirt and swept it up, but I didn't find out until later. When she told me I told her the approximate time because I'd seen the sensor spike. I can tell the difference between Tuesday/Friday morning and Wednesday/Saturday morning due to vacuuming the house on those days.

1 Like

Viruses are usually anywhere between 20 and 300 nanometres. Much too small for most air filters. But this is all a moot point because Covid-19 is not an airborne virus. It is spread by respiratory droplets from person to person. So, filtering your air will not help you avoid Covid-19.

1 Like

So doesn’t that make Ecobee’s marketing game even more predatory?

I don't know what campaign you're referring to. You don't give any context or a link or anything. You say you got this email but don't show it. I'm just saying that air filtering doesn't help protect you from Covid-19. That's all I'm saying.

However, I know that Ecobee has had an air filter service for a while because they did when I had my Ecobee thermostat. Also, their website makes no claims that their filters work on viruses.


Their MERV 13 filters, the highest they offer, filter out virus CARRIERS which is not the same as filtering out viruses. A filter small enough to trap viruses wouldn't let enough air through a forced air furnace. It would be too small.

1 Like

It’s not quite that simple.

There are situations in which the virus can aerosolize farther than the 3-6 feet that respiratory droplets can typically move when someone coughs/sneezes, but it’s still attached to a particle that is itself larger than the virus.

It’s probably less likely to happen at home than in a healthcare setting, and I can’t speak to whether indoor air purifiers filter the particles that the virus remains airborne on, though I would guess the answer is yes.

1 Like

Covid-19 cannot be aerosolized in your home. If it could, a HELL of a lot more people would be sick. It is spread through respiratory droplets. Unless you're performing trackiotomies or bronchoscopies at home, you cannot aerorsolize the virus.

And to be clear, WHO says that those are only possible routes for transmission by aerosol and aerosol transmission hasn't been confirmed. Don't take my word for it.

Yes it can. It depends on the details, like I said more likely to happen in a healthcare setting than in a home.

Tracheostomies and bronchoscopies are two examples of the highest risk settings.

But notice that they also mention nebulizers, open suctioning and disconnecting a ventilator; some people do those things in their homes.

I am not advocating for using an HVAC filter to protect oneself from covid at home, there are much higher yield things to do like good hand hygiene. I’m just pointing out it’s not as black and white as you are making it out to be.


Yes, it is. Because if the virus is aerosolized, that means that the droplet is now less than 5 microns. Which means it is too small to be caught by an HVAC filter. So, even if this did happen, your HVAC filer is not going to protect you. That is why rooms where patients are treated are negative pressure and the air is treated with UV radiation.

Have a nice day Ryan.

@LostJen you mentioned you usually look hard for a bargain when shopping for filters.

How does the Ecobee price compare to someone that doesn’t look for a particularly good deal on another name brand filter?


Just hitting amazon for 3M Filtrete since that is what most big boxes carry. Their MPR 1500 seems to be the best match for MERV 13 (based on their PDF which could be completely bogus since they use their own scale to make it difficult to make comparisons).

A 6 pack of 1500 Filtrete 20x25 is $108. You could do S&S but they only offer 5%/10% not the usual 15% (
A 6 pack of 1500 Filtrete 14x14 is $96 (
So they are roughly $400 for a dozen. This is still less than the Ecobee price of $431.

On the product page it says they compare to MERV12, but the numbers on the 3M pdf show closer to MERV13.
Higher proprietary MPR 3M numbers or lower will of course change the price.

Virus carrier is a somewhat disingenuous term. How many people will truly see carrier and not just stop at virus. And even if they do, how many know the different. Virus is the catchword to draw the eye. At least they didn't use smaller print for carrier.

And yes this is exactly that program you mentioned. I just got notice today even though I won the Ecobee from the TVA over 6 months ago.

That could be coincidence. I know that I used to get emails about the service all the time when I was an Ecobee user. And the emails I got were all about convenience more than anything. Ecobee allows users to donate their thermostat data to energy and climate change researches and Ecobee provides the data to them free of charge. I just don't see them engaging in predatory marketing like that. But hey, anything is possible I guess. If you feel that strongly, email them about it. I bet you'll get a reply.

IMHO one thing that distinguishes taking advantage of an opportunity (not in a bad way) and being predatory is the price. It’s probably not a particularly good bargain, but $30 less than a similar filter vs. 3x the price is a big difference.

Whether they imply or even make false claims would be another major factor to consider.

No - a lot of people would be infected. Current data indicates that between 20-30% infections are asymptomatic.


If a lot more people were infected, then a lot more people would also be sick. If 20-30% of infections are asymptomatic, that means that 70-80% are symptomatic, right? So, if infections rose by 100 people, that means that 70-80 more people would also be sick. You can't get more infections without also getting more sick people. But again, this is nor relevant to the original question about HVAC air filters, which will not help prevent you from getting Covid-19.

I agree with Ryan780. Ecobee's model is probably not predatory. They probably make a profit that probably makes them more expensive than Amazon. They are hitting now since it is April and that is a traditional month to get AC serviced and change filters.

However, check the price. If the price has shot-up (much greater than Amazon), then there may be an issue.