Everything You Need to Know About MERV Ratings

What Is MERV Rating and What Does MERV Mean?

Devised by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), MERV is a scale for the measurement of air filters. MERV or “minimum efficiency reporting value” measures how effective an air filter will be when in use.

MERV was designed to allow homeowners, engineers and manufacturers to compare air filters. The MERV scale ranges from 1-16, with one allowing the largest particles to pass through the filter and 16 allowing only microscopic particles to pass through the filter.

What MERV Rating Should I Look for When Purchasing Air Filters?

Purchasing the right air filter for your HVAC system is very important to the proper function of your heater or air conditioner and the health of your friends and family.

If you pick an air filter with a low MERV rating, it’s unlikely to filter out allergens and pet dander. If you pick an air filter with a very high MERV rating, the very small filter holes may put pressure on your HVAC system, causing long-term damage.

Below is a set of general guidelines for selecting the MERV-rated air filter that’s right for you:

  • MERV rating 1-4: Air filters with a MERV rating of 1-4 are generally seen as low-end air filters. They will remove large airborne particles from the air, but they are not likely to filter contaminants like mold, pollen and other small to medium sized particles. These filters are primarily used in commercial applications.
  • MERV rating 5-8: Air filters with a MERV rating between 5-8 are capable of removing smaller particles like dust and mold spores. They are used in both commercial business and residential homes.
  • MERV rating 9-12: Air filters with a MERV rating between 9-12 are the best options for residential use. They remove very small particles and airborne pollutants without blocking air flow or causing damage to residential HVAC systems.
  • MERV rating 13-16: Air filters with a MERV rating of over 13 are primarily used in clean room or hospitals to help reduce the spread of germs or contaminants. Air filters with MERV rating between 13-16 may cause damage to standard residential HVAC appliances.

In general, the lower the MERV rating, the more frequently the air filter should be replaced. We recommend replacing your residential air filter at least quarterly for optimal function.

Let Aire Serv Help Filter and Purify the Air You Breathe

The quality of the air you breathe is vital to keeping your family safe and healthy and ensuring your home’s HVAC system functions at peak capacity. At Aire Serv®, we strive to help you breathe easy with expert HVAC systems installation, maintenance and repair.

If you need help replacing your home’s air filters, or purifying the air in your home or business, you need Aire Serv. Contact your local Aire Serv or schedule an appointment online today to learn more about how our indoor air quality and air purification services can help you and your family breathe easy.

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