MERV Rating

Understanding a MERV Rating

Do you know what a MERV rating is? In previous posts we discussed AFUE and SEER ratings, and now it is time to discuss this critical rating so you can make better decisions when it comes to your air conditioning system.

MERV is an acronym that stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. This rating pertains to your air conditioning system’s filter, and measures how effectively a filter removes particles from the air that passes through it.

The MERV rating is a measure of how effectively a filter removes particles from the air that passes through it. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter will catch. Higher MERV ratings mean more particulate matter is captured, and lower ratings means less matter is captured — it’s that simple.

Now you might say to yourself, “Oh this is easy. I’ll just get the highest MERV rated filter for my system and trap as much dust as possible” — unfortunately, it is not that simple. If you use a filter with a MERV rating that is too high, it could be the same as using a dirty, dust filled filter. Air will struggle to push through the filter, which puts excess wear on your system’s components. This can lead to costly repairs.

To make a smart decision about what type of filter to use in your home HVAC system, start by checking your system’s documentation for a maximum MERV limit or ask your trusted HVAC technician.

Once you understand the maximum limit for your system, you can begin to smarter decisions regarding your filters. If your home tends to be dusty, or you suffer from seasonal allergies, a filter with a higher MERV rating could bring a little relief. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. In home systems, filters that range between 1-4 are most common, but there are cases where homeowners use filters with MERV ratings as high as 8, because their system allows it.

Understanding MERV ratings will help you make better decisions about your HVAC system’s filtration needs, and provide you with the information necessary to knowing a filter’s particle trapping ability.

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