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MERV Filter Ratings You Can Understand

Apr 11, 2017
MERV Ratings Explained | Climate Control

There are many acronyms in the HVAC world, commonly used to express efficiency ratings. MERV reflects an air filter’s effectiveness, short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filter – but not all filters are right for every application. Read on to see the breakdown of MERV categories.

MERV 1 to 4 Filters

This is the lowest point on the filter totem pole. These filters aren’t very effective, only trapping larger contaminants. You may find them in homes or businesses – if they’re in yours, we recommend upgrading, as these don’t do much for air quality, nor do they offer good protection for your HVAC systems.

  • Can trap particles over 10 microns in size, such as pollen, large particles of dust, dust mites, pet dander and hair, carpet fibers

MERV 5 to 8

Filters with these ratings are a better option for homes, and more of a minimum standard for commercial applications. They can capture contaminants ranging from 3.0 to 10.0 microns.

  • MERV 5-8 filters trap mold spores, hairspray particles, dusting spray particles, and cement dust

MERV 9 to 12

Filters with a rating of 9 to 12 MERV are great choices for residential homes, and well-suited for many businesses. They’ll pull smaller particles from the air supply, efficient in trapping those from 1.0 to 3.0 microns in size.

  • These filters can remove legionella, car emissions, humidifier and lead dust, and welding fumes from the air.

MERV 13 to 16

These higher rated filters aren’t appropriate choices for the average home; their use can block airflow through the HVAC systems, causing damage. Use these filters in commercial settings, operating rooms, and hospital rooms to trap contaminants 0.3 to 1.0 microns in size.

  • MERV 13 to 16 filters remove bacteria, tobacco smoke, and sneeze particulates.

MERV 17 to 20

These filters are found only in critical environments such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, clean rooms, and where hazardous materials are used. They can trap the tiniest of particles, under 0.3 microns, such as viruses and combustion smoke.

Climate Control will match you with the right filter that will work optimally with your HVAC systems and treat your air quality issues. Contact us today to learn more.

About The Author

Dan Detmer
Dan Detmer is the owner of Climate Control Heating & Air Conditioning. Dan was born into the heating and cooling industry, coming from a family of well respected HVAC contractors. After working in the family business, Dan decided to work for a local HVAC wholesale business helping local contractors grow their business. When he felt his heart moving him back into the residential and light commercial business, Dan purchased Climate Control Heating & Air Conditioning based on their strong reputation in the Lexington community.If you have any questions feel free to tweet @HVACClimate and we will get right back with you!
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