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Why the MERV Rating Matters

Ideally, your air filter should remove dust and other particles as well as possible without compromising the performance of your HVAC system. That’s why you should pay close attention to the filter’s MERV rating.

That’s the minimum efficiency reporting value and it can tell you a lot about how well it will improve your indoor air quality.

How Do MERV Ratings Work?

MERV is a rating system that grades the performance of air filters on a scale from 1 to 16. The smaller the particle a filter can capture, the higher its MERV. Filters at the higher end of the MERV scale can trap pollutants such as bacteria and tobacco smoke. Normally, you will only find MERV 13 to 16 in a surgery or hospital setting.

On the lower end, pollen and dust. Households generally use filters rated for MERV 7 to 12.

Think about the difference between a colander and cheesecloth. Water will run through the porous colander faster than through a tight mesh of a cheesecloth. Air filters work according to the same concept.

The problem with a higher MERV rating is that it can actually make your HVAC system inefficient. While you may want the cleanest air possible, the restrictive material used in high-end filters can strain your HVAC system. In addition to efficiency issues, some filters with higher MERV ratings need to be changed out more often.

Which MERV Rating Is Best?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioner Engineers, which developed the rating system, recommends a MERV of 6 or higher. Anything over 13 is likely overkill.

No matter which type of filter you choose, you can improve your indoor air quality dramatically when you pair it with a UV light system, an air purifier or other air quality system.

Our technicians are highly trained to provide customized solutions to give you the cleanest air possible. To schedule an appointment, call (610) 600-1108.

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