Without a quality air filter, particles can freely infiltrate your HVAC system. Dust, dander, pollen and more can negatively affect your indoor air quality, disrupting your sense of comfort. Indoor air clear of pollutants is cleaner and healthier to breathe. Using the MERV rating system, you can determine if upgrading to a more efficient air filter will benefit your home’s indoor air quality.

What Is a MERV Rating?

The MERV rating system was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to measure an air filter’s ability to capture airborne particles. Standing for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, MERV ratings simplify comparing different air filters.

MERV rating charts apply specifically to microns, a microscopic unit of measurement for particles. Ratings will only apply to filters designed for particle sizes between 3.0 to 10 microns. A higher MERV filter rating means an air filter is more effective at trapping pollutants with a smaller micron size.

What MERV Rating Should You Use?

You can find air filter MERV ratings from 1 to over 16, although in general, any filter with a rating higher than 16 isn’t required for residential HVAC equipment. In fact, getting a filter with a higher rating than necessary could actually make your HVAC system less efficient. Filters with 16+ MERV ratings are used for hospitals and housing hazardous materials!

A Good Starting Point

A MERV rating between 5 and 8 will be appropriate for most homes and the quality of their indoor air. These filters offer reliable filtration and can trap many of the most common particles you can find in your home.

Taking Care of Those at Home

But if someone in your home has allergies, asthma or other breathing problems, a higher rating may be more appropriate. These filters are designed to trap particles as small as 1 micron, such as vehicle exhaust, pollen and mold spores. Many will advertise allergen relief on their packaging, which is useful for finding the right type.

Getting the Most from Your Investment

And if indoor air quality is a top priority, many dedicated air purification systems come with air filters rated between 11-15. These filtration systems are exceptional pieces of technology and often include useful features like additional carbon layers built into the filters. They can stand up to consistent air quality concerns, keeping indoor air clean and breathable.

Don’t Get More than You Need

Remember to pair your HVAC system with the right air filter MERV rating. The highest MERV ratings are designed for conditions you won’t encounter at home. If a service company tries to tell you that you need a highly rated filter, they may not have your best interests at heart.

The EPA Offers Helpful Resources

The Environmental Protection Agency compiles useful info about the MERV rating system and how you can make the most of it to improve indoor air quality. For example, the EPA recommends HEPA filters for their effective pleated design. Pleated air filters are a common type and can theoretically remove around 99.97% of airborne particles smaller than .3 microns.

To learn more information, please visit the EPA’s website.

Call Ditter for Fresh Air and 24/7 Support

If you’re considering improving your home’s indoor air quality, the training and experience of a professional HVAC technician can make a big difference. Ditter Cooling, Heating & Electrical offers a full suite of IAQ solutions, including repair and installation services. Our team of experts will help you find the perfect combination.

To learn more, give us a call at 763-200-5055. We’ll be happy to help however we can!

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