Know MERV Ratings To Choose The Best Air Filter For Your HVAC Systems
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Know MERV Ratings To Choose The Best Air Filter For Your HVAC Systems


You know the feeling: You go to buy a filter for your furnace or air conditioner only to be completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of options in front of you. How on earth do you choose the best air filter for your home or business?

Air filters, whether for heating or air conditioning systems, all come with a MERV rating. A filter’s MERV, or its Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, indicates its capacity for capturing particles when air is flowing through the system. Ranging from 1 to 16, MERV ratings tell you not only what a given filter can remove from the air, but also which HVAC application might be most appropriate.

  • 1-4 MERV: Low cost, disposable and used in residential applications, a filter in this range will only collect larger particles like dust, dust mites, carpet fibers and pollen.
  • 5-7 MERV: Used in both residential and industrial spaces, these air filters are more substantial and last longer than lower rated filters.  They are capable of removing air contaminants like mold spores, hairspray fumes and cement dust.
  • 9-12 MERV: Often densely pleated, these commercial-grade filters can handle extremely fine particles like humidifier and lead dust.  Because they work so well, this type of filter must be checked and cleaned regularly to ensure that air flows freely through the HVAC system.
  • 13-16 MERV: Hospitals or other “clean-room” environments use these industrial air filters to remove even the bacteria from the air.

Keep in mind that the best filter for your heating or air conditioning system might not be the one with the highest MERV rating. An overly restrictive air filter can slow the rate of air flow and cause your HVAC system to malfunction. The ideal air filter is one that has the least effect on airflow, but removes the greatest number of air contaminants.

Heating and air conditioning systems are our specialty at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing, Electrical, Drain Services, and we can help you identify the right air filter for your home or business.Contact us online or give us a call at (503) 266-1249

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