Choosing Your MERV Filter: How Do All Those Numbers Add Up?

Posted On: September 09, 2011

Indoor air quality is of growing concern in the Highland area and the nation as a whole. Pollen, dust and other indoor and outdoor pollutants put your health and the health of your family at risk. One way to increase indoor air quality in your home is to understand MERV ratings for air filters.

What is MERV?
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, is the industry standard for rating the efficiency of air filters. The higher the value, the better the air filter catches indoor pollutants in your home. With standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioner Engineers (ASHRAE) and adopted by the federal government, MERV will help you understand more about air filters and hold filter manufacturers to a uniform standard. With this rating, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting in an air filter.

The Values
To make it easier for you to understand what these values on air filters represent, ASHRAE set minimum parameters for the MERV ratings ranging from one to 20. The higher the number, the better the filtration. Here’s a breakdown of the values and what they mean:

  • Values 1-4: This value provides minimal filtration and will filter out pollen, dust mites, bug parts and textile fibers. These filters are commonly one-inch thick throwaway fiberglass, washable aluminum or electrostatic filters.
  • Values 5-8: This value will filter out everything that lower value filters remove and also filter out mold spores, pet dander and dust mite parts. These filters include pleated filters that are one to six inches thick, cartridge filters or throwaway filters made from synthetic media.
  • Values 9-12: This higher value filter will provide superior residential air filtration and will also filter out humidifier dust and car emission particles. These filters are pleated filters or box filters.
  • Values 13 and higher: Filters with ratings 13 and over are generally the type used in hospital environments and filter out bacteria and viruses.

Increasing the air quality of your home is easier with the MERV ratings system. Contact Ernst Heating & Coolingto find the right air filter and filtration system to meet your needs.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about choosing an air filter and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Ernst Heating & Cooling services Hamel, Illinois and the surrounding areas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!      

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