Your MERV Filter: Pick A Number, But Just Any Number?

Your MERV Filter: Pick A Number, But Just Any Number?

The air we breathe can contain a lot more than just oxygen. It is also filled with microscopic particles that are light enough to stay afloat. These minuscule particles include many of the usual suspects when it comes to causing health problems: bacteria, viruses, mold, spores, pollen, dustand a host of other allergens and germs. This is especially true inside our homes, where microorganisms thrive in the same conditions that make us comfortable.

That makes cleaning the air in your home a high priority. Unfortunately, many of the air filters used in Oregon homes are not up to the task and are not packed tightly enough to stop such tiny particles from passing through. To make certain your home’s air filter isn’t an accomplice in causing your allergies and illnesses, you’ll need to look at its MERV number.

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. It is a system that rates how effective air filters are at handling microscopic pollutants. The scale ranges from 1, which is not at all effective, to 20, almost 100 percent effective.

You want to choose the right MERV filter for your home, but that means first knowing what number you are looking for. The highest-rated MERV filters are packed so tightly that very little air can get through, and if the air never passes through the filter, the filter can’t clean the air. Some air quality systems, such as those in highly sensitive labs or cleanrooms, solve this problem by either having a filter with a much larger surface area, or forcing the air through with high pressure. For most home systems, though, you won’t want to go above a MERV of 16, and a filter in the range of 8-13 is often considered effective enough for residential HVAC use.

At Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing & Electrical, we can help you determine which filter works best for your Oregon home. Contact us today with any questions.

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