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Filter MERV Ratings

Have you ever noticed the rating on your furnace filter? Ever wondered what that rating means? MERV stands for "minimum efficiency reporting value" and the MERV rating is a measure of how effectively a filter removed particles from the air that passes through it. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter will catch.


What MERV rating is correct for my system?


Every HVAC system has a maximum MERV limit. Using filters above the MERV limit will hurt your energy efficiency and will likely cause more frequent service and repairs.


To make a better decision on what MERV rating you will need, consider whether your home needs better air quality and more filtration. Does someone suffer from asthma or allergies? Do you have a pet that sheds a lot? Does your home seem abnormally dusty? You might benefit from a higher MERV rating.


MERV rating filtering capabilities


Ratings vary from a range of 1 to 20. In most residential HVAC systems, filters in the 1-4 range are most common.


Here are the various MERV ratings and their filtering capabilities:


MERV 1-4


These filters can catch large particles: dust, dust mites, pollen, carpet fibers, insects and some of their waste. These are primarily used in residential HVAC systems.


MERV 5-8


These filters are used in some homes and in most commercial and industrial settings. They can catch finer dust particles, mold spores, aerosol spray particles and pet dander.


MERV 9-12


Rarely used in residences, these filters are common in certain commercial buildings and in some hospital laboratories. They can capture automotive emissions, welding fumes, lead dust and larger bacteria.


MERV 13-16


These heavy-duty filters are typical in hospital surgical centers and other areas where heavy filtration is paramount. They collect a larger range of bacteria, smoke particles, oil droplets and fine particles from sneezing.


MERV 17-20


These filters are used in clean rooms where pharmaceuticals and sensitive electronics are produced. They can catch viruses, carbon dust, and even the smallest smoke particles.


Curious about what MERV rating you should be using? Contact Solaire Home Comfort today for expert advice.