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What is the MERV Rating of an Air Filter?

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air filter


There are many different air filters on the market, all of which have varying effects on particle control and air flow. So how are St. Louis area homeowners supposed to figure out which type of filter is right for their homes?


Luckily, the HVAC industry uses a rating system, called a MERV rating, to determine the efficiency of air filters. So what is a MERV rating and how can you use it to choose the filter that’s right for your unit?


What is a MERV rating?


MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a measurement scale designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers and is accepted as our industry’s standard scale for comparing air filters.


Air filters are assigned MERV values according to how well they can remove airborne particles from your home’s air. On a scale of 1-16, filters with low MERV values can only remove a small percentage of the largest particles in your air, while filters with high MERV values can remove a large percentage of the smaller particles in your air.


How is a MERV rating determined?


To determine the MERV rating of an air filter, a particle generator is used to send various sizes of particles through the filter. A particle count is taken from the air before and after it is sent through the filter. By comparing the two particle samples, we can determine how good the filter is at removing large and small particles from the air.


How do I determine what MERV rating I should use for my home air filter?

To determine what MERV rating you should use for your home air filter, you should consider what type of air filtration you need for your household. Generally, most households should have an air filter with a MERV rating of 5-8. However, if you or a member of your family has a respiratory or medical condition that makes it harder to breathe, you should opt for an air filter with a MERV rating of 9-12. To learn more about the type of air filter you should use for your home, call us today

Is a higher MERV rating better for my home air filter?

No, a higher MERV rating is not necessarily better for your home air filter. Air filters are designed with different MERV ratings for different purposes. In a standard residential home, you typically do not need more than a 5-8 MERV rating for your air filter unless you have someone in your household that has a medical condition. Even with health issues to account for, you wouldn’t need an air filter with a MERV rating higher than 12. To learn more about choosing the correct air filter for your home, contact us today.  

What is the best air filter for my HVAC system?

The best air filter for your home HVAC system is a HEPA air filter with a MERV rating of 8. The brand and type of air filter you should use for your HVAC system will vary depending on your specific needs. In commercial buildings or hospitals, you should use an air filter with a MERV rating of 12 or higher to ensure maximum filtration. To learn more about what type of air filter you should use for your HVAC system, give us a call today

What MERV rating is best for your HVAC unit?


It might seem like the best decision would be to use a filter with the highest MERV rating. However, you have to remember that filters that are better at blocking out particles are worse for your unit’s air flow. In order to achieve maximum air flow and particle control, use a filter with the highest MERV rating that your unit can handle. This information is often included with your unit when you purchase it.


If you have any questions about a MERV rating, or if you’d like to purchase a filter from a professional contractor, contact Jerry Kelly, your St. Louis heating and cooling company.

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