Understanding MERV Ratings

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One aspect of HVAC maintenance is cleaning or replacing the filter. This step is quite important, as it helps maintain the performance and energy efficiency of your HVAC system and contributes to improved indoor air quality. In some cases, changing the filter can even help avoid a costly HVAC repair job.

However, shopping for a filter isn’t always straightforward. This is because there are different sizes and specifications to consider depending on your HVAC system and its filtration requirements.

In this article, Ainsworth & Co. Air Conditioning – Heating, a trusted provider of air conditioner and furnace replacement services, discusses why MERV ratings matter when buying a filter.

What Are MERV Ratings?

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings are used to indicate the effectiveness of filters with regards to removing airborne particulates. The various levels include:

  • Between 1 and 4 – Filters with ratings in this range are typically washable filters or are made of spun fiberglass. They’re able to trap pet hair, carpet fibers and other large debris.
  • Between 5 and 8 – These filters are capable of trapping particulates that are between three and 10 microns or larger. They’re effective at removing pet dander, mold spores and pollen (less than 10 pm particles).
  • Between 9 and 12 – Filters within this range offer superior filtration, particularly in homes. They can trap lead dust, Legionella (1 to 3 pm particles) and auto emissions.
  • Between 13 and 20 – These filters are capable of trapping bacteria, tobacco smoke and other particulates less than 0.30 pm particles.

How to Choose the Correct MERV Rating

Higher MERV ratings naturally indicate better performance, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always the most appropriate option. Before purchasing any filters, find out the MERV rating recommended for your system. Using a high-MERV filter that your HVAC system isn’t built for can affect airflow and cause leaks in the return ducts, cabinets and plenums.

Moreover, using high-performance filters with a lower-capacity HVAC system can result in increased energy use. It can also cause more wear and tear in the system and increase the risk of coil freezing.

Ainsworth & Co. Air Conditioning – Heating is made up of highly skilled and seasoned technicians. Whether the job involves air conditioner replacement or some other HVAC service, you can count on us to deliver quality results. Call us at (281) 336-0312 or fill out our contact form to request a quote. We serve homeowners in Baytown, TX, and surrounding areas.

Category: hvac