Understanding Air Filter MERV Ratings& Their Importance


    Many people are now putting more emphasis on maintaining acceptable air quality. The goal is to attain maximum health benefits and comfort. The secret to achieving that is knowing the correct levels of air filtration provided by air filters, and that’s where MERV ratings come in.

    What are MERV ratings?

    MERV refer to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The ratings lets you understand how effectively an air filter removes air pollutants. Lower MERV ratings allow more particles into the air, but higher MERV ratings can trap and filter more particles. 

    The tip is to choose the one with excellent ratings to satisfy your needs. Most homes need a filter with a MERV rating between 6 and 13. Between that ranges, you can look into merv 8 vsmerv 11 to see the ideal one.

    The basics of MERV ratings 

    MERV ratings range from 1-20. A filter with higher ratings will let fewer dust particles and contaminants through the system. In general, filters with MERV ratings of:

    • 1-4 will eliminate the largest dust particles. They help protect the machinery inside your HVAC system but do little to improve indoor air quality and don’t last long. 
    • 5-8 will eliminate mold spores, smaller dirt particles, pet dander, and everything larger than 3 microns. The filters can be helpful if you suffer from allergies and asthma.
    • 9-12 removes smaller dirt particles, including elements from auto emissions and smoke particles. They are the best-quality air filters that an unmodified residential HVAC system can accommodate. Filters with these ratings are ideal if you’re sensitive to indoor air quality or have hospital settings.
    • 13-16 will remove airborne bacteria, smoke particles, insecticide dust, and paint particulates. The filters are perfect in standard hospital surgery settings and manufacturing operations. If you plan to use it at home, you’ll need to modify it to accommodate the denser filtration media and larger filter size. 
    • 17-20 are reserved for high-efficiency particulate arresting or HEPA filters.

    Finding the right rating 

    A filter with a high MERV rating is capable of stopping minuscule particles. However, it can only do its job when installed in the right system. Therefore, check the recommended MERV rating for your HVAC system and avoid using a filter with a rating above the range. Your system will fail to force air through the filter if it’s incompatible.

    Additionally, MERV ratings affect airflow, impacting your heating and cooling equipment. A higher filter’s MERV value translates to more tightly fibers, which creates resistance known as pressure drop. The condition decreases the airflow on the downstream side of the air filter, which can lead to overheating and automatic system shutdown. Lastly, high MERV levels are more costly to implement and maintain.

    Why are MERV Ratings Important? 

    MERV ratings are essential in letting you know how effective the filter is. Also, it helps you understand the perfect filter for your home. For instance, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you may consider a filter with higher ratings, like MERV 13.

    Take away 

    The filter in your HVAC system protects the system interior against damaging dust. Also, it helps you to maintain indoor air quality. Achieving the benefits rely on the suitability of the filter. Understanding MERV ratings help you choose a proper air filter to prevent overheating and ensure peak efficiency.


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