What Is MERV and Why Does It Matter for My Air Filter?

‘Tis the season of allergies, and many homeowners are changing or upgrading their mechanical air filters to accommodate for the allergy sufferers in their homes. Not all air filters are made alike, nor do they all remove the contaminants you need removed from your home to properly clean your indoor air. How do you know how a specific air filter is going to perform? You need to check its MERV rating.

What Is MERV?
The acronym MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it is a scale that was developed during the 1940’s during nuclear bomb testing. The MERV scale assesses what size particles can fit through the media of a given filter, and does this by assigning a certain MERV number. The scale runs from 1-20, with 20 being the most effective. However, this doesn’t mean you should instantly purchase a filter with a MERV of 20, as this high of a MERV number is strictly for buildings like hospitals and disease centers. Here is a quick overview of what filters at different MERV ranges can capture:

  • 1-4 – the standard filter your AC comes with is in this MERV range. Filters with this MERV range can only capture allergens and contaminants that are 10 microns or larger, making them pretty ineffective for improving your indoor air quality.
  • 5-8 – this MERV range is able to capture larger particles of dust and dirt, pet dander and many types of pollen.
  • 9-12 – for allergy sufferers, this MERV range is ideal as it captures all of the above, but can capture small particles, including some mold and mildew spores and larger viruses and bacteria.

Any filter with a MERV rating of 13 and over should be installed by an expert. This is because these filters are HEPA filters, and they can restrict the air flow in your air conditioning system.

If you are looking for assistance with your mechanical air filter, or need service or installation of one, call the experts at Certified Air Systems, Inc., today and schedule an appointment for your home in Orlando, FL.

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