What is a Filter MERV Rating?

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When you look to buy a filter for your air conditioning, furnace or another HVAC system you may come across a MERV rating. It’s important to know what this means as the MERV rating says a lot about the quality of the filter you are buying, how efficient it is, and how that impacts on your air quality.

What does MERV mean?

MERV means: Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a industry term which is widely used in rating how effective different air filters are at filtering particles of different sizes such as bacteria, pollen and more.

Simply put, the higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is.

The standard rating system goes from 1 – 16, and up to 20 for operating rooms, medical facilities and similar settings that require the upmost cleanliness.

MERV and air quality

When buying an air filter, the MERV rating gives you an indication of how good the filter is going to be at keeping your air quality clean. The higher the MERV rating, the better it will be at filtering finer particles of bacteria, dust mites, carpet fibres, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, mold and more.

Residential air filters typically have a MERV rating of 7-12; this is sufficient to handle most containments in the home. Anything under 16 could be found in commercial or residential settings, though more likely in medical settings.

MERV ratings and performance

You might assume a higher MERV rating would mean better system performance, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Forced air systems require a continual flow of clean air to operate effectively; when a filter has a higher MERV rating, it likely has smaller pores which can slow airflow and put pressure on the air blower. This makes the system work harder, and essentially costs you money, and puts more strain on it’s components.

It’s important to buy a filter that is suitable for your system, some are better able to handle more efficient filters than others. Your system’s handbook should have information about the recommended filters to buy.

For advice on improving your indoor air quality and choosing the right filter for your air conditioner, furnace or other forced air system contact your HVAC specialists in Fairfield County, Connecticut: Hellas Air Temp: 203-852-0666