Changing out your air filter is an essential task to ensure the proper health of your HVAC system. The filters prevent particles and debris from sucking into your unit. When the filter becomes dirty or compacted with dirt, hair and indoor pollutants, is it time to change them out. Most people will focus on the proper size of filter and in most cases, disregard the MERV rating. Those unfamiliar with what the MERV rating is Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning will share what MERV is and how to determine the right filter for your HVAC system.
What is MERV? Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV is the measurement of how dense the filters are and how many particles and of what sizes gets captured. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles those filters capture. However, as many people think they should go run out and buy the highest MERV rated filter they can find, this is a major misconception. If the filter is too dense then the air flow is restricted and some HVAC systems won’t have the power to push air through them. Most residential HVAC units will use a 1 to 4 rating. However, those who live in a dusty environment or those with pets, may need a slightly higher MERV rated filter. Here is how the MERV rating is determined.
MERV Rating Chart
MERV 1-4: MERV 1 through 4 rated filters will catch larger particles of dust, pollen, carpet fibers, dust mites, pet hair and even insects. 1 through 4 MERV rated filters are primarily used for residential HVAC units.
MERV 5-8: MERV 5 through 8 filters is capable of capturing the finer particles that pass through them. MERV 5 through 8 filters can capture dust particles, aerosols, pet dander, and mold spores due to their denser fibers. However it takes a stronger HVAC system to power through the denser fibers. MERV rated filters between 5 through 8 are typically used for commercial HVAC systems and occasionally residential.
MERV 9-12: MERV filters with a 9 through 12 rating are very rarely, if ever, used in residential HVAC systems. These filters are intended for commercial facilities that require more contaminate control such as hospitals, laboratories, and mechanical industries. MERV 9 through 12 filters is dense enough to capture automobile emissions, dust, larger bacteria and even wielding fumes.
MERV 13-16: MERV filters that are rated a 13 through 16 are also used for medical facilities and typically, surgical centers and those exposed to a wide range of pathogens. These filters are also used in smoking lounges as they can capture the particles found in cigars and cigarettes.
MERV 17-20: MERV filters with a 17 through 20 rating are the highest rated filter made for HVAC systems. These filters are able to capture the smallest of particles from viruses, carbon dust and even smoke particles. MERV 17 through 20 filters is often used for commercial buildings with sterile or clean rooms for sensitive electronics.
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For most residential HVAC you will want a filter with a MERV rating of 1 through 4. The higher the number, the more particles the filter can capture. However, don’t use a filter beyond the recommended MERV rating to ensure proper circulation. Remember to change your filters often to prolong your HVAC unit’s health. For all your HVAC repair, inspection, and replacement needs, contact Air Supply Heating & Air Conditioning today.