What Exactly is a MERV Rating and How Does it Affect My Home?

What Exactly is a MERV Rating and How Does it Affect My Home?If you’re not inspecting your air filter every month and replacing it when it’s clogged, your home’s indoor air may be taking a toll on your health. HVAC air filters not only protect your system, but they also remove harmful particles from the air. Choosing a quality air filter is essential for good indoor air quality and your overall health.

What is MERV?

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and is an industry standard that indicates the percentage of particles the filter will trap. Although the MERV scale ranges from one to 20, MERV 12 is the highest rating a residential HVAC system can accommodate without restricting airflow.

Choosing the Right MERV Rating 

Most particles in your air fall between .1 and 10 microns in size. Allergens like mold, pollen and pet dander, as well as harmful particles, like lead dust and bacteria, can trigger or worsen allergy and asthma symptoms, causing respiratory illnesses later on in life.

  • MERV 1 to 4 filters trap less than 20 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns. It’s best to avoid these filters.
  • MERV 5 to 8 filters are of medium quality and are suitable for most air quality needs.
  • MERV 6 filters trap 50 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns, including pollen, mold and dust mites.
  • MERV 8 filters trap 85 percent of particles.
  • MERV 9 to 12 filters are the best filters for people with respiratory conditions.
  • MERV 10 filters trap 85 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns, as well as 50 percent of particles between 1 and 3 microns, including some bacteria and fungal spores.
  • MERV 12 filters trap over 90 percent of particles between 3 and 10 microns and about 90 percent of particles between 1 and 3 microns.

Before upgrading your filter, check your system’s specs to ensure it will accommodate higher-rated filters without restricting airflow. For more advice about which MERV rating is best for your home, please contact Powers Heating & Air in the Peachtree City area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Aquir/Shutterstock”

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