Understanding MERV Ratings for Cleaner Air

When choosing an air filter for your home heating or cooling system, you must be aware of the air cleaning and filtering capacity of the filter you choose. Filters have efficiency ratings that can help you determine which filter is best for your particular needs. These ratings, called MERV numbers, can tell you whether or not the filter will be able to remove particulates such as dust and pollen to clean your air to a suitable level. Here is a brief introduction to MERV ratings and what they mean.

The Meaning of MERV

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which is a standard measure of air filter efficiency and performance. A filter’s MERV rating indicates how effective it is at capturing small airborne particulates as air circulates through your HVAC system. MERV ratings indicate a filter’s capacity to remove particulates between 0.3 and 10 microns in size.

Uses of MERV Filters

MERV ratings for filters used in most residential settings range from 1 to 16. There are filters available with MERV ratings of 17 to 20, but these are usually extremely high-quality filters that require specialized mountings. Higher-MERV filters are also thicker and more dense than lower-MERV models. Before using a high-MERV filter, you must be certain that your HVAC system has the airflow capacity to support it.

MERV Specifics

Lower-MERV filters are often very inexpensive, but their ability to filter your indoor air is limited.

  • MERV 1-4 filters are usually only good at collecting larger particles of 10 microns and above.
  • MERV 2-8 filters are medium-quality, and can remove particles of 3 microns and larger.
  • MERV 9-12 filters are considered high quality and can easily capture particulates of 1 micron and larger.
  • MERV 13-16 filters are the highest quality typically used in residential systems and work best at filtering out smaller particulates.

Conditioned Air provides professional, courteous HVAC sales, installation, and repair services for customers in Sarasota, Bradenton, Ft. Myers, and other communities in southwest Florida. Contact us today for more information on MERV ratings and choosing the proper filter for your home heating or cooling system.

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