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Choosing A MERV Filter: What Do Those Numbers Mean, Anyway?

Choosing A MERV Filter: What Do Those Numbers Mean, Anyway?

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Households with people who suffer from allergies, particularly dust and pollen allergies often find it beneficial to change their air filter regularly, and to check it at least once a month. When it comes time to replace your HVAC filter, take a look at the MERV rating.

MERV stands for Maximum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it rates the efficiency of air filters—in other words, the MERV rating tells you what kinds of air particles it will capture. The scale is from 1-16, with 1 being the lowest possible rating and 16 being the highest. Depending on your family's, and your HVAC system's unique needs, these ratings can help you figure out which filter you need.

Below is an overview of what rating will likely keep out which particles:


·         1-4: Filters pollen, dust mites, and similar pollutants. Most often used in small homes and with window AC units.

·         5-8: Filters mold, dust mite debris, animal dander, and similar pollutants. Most often used in larger homes and small commercial and industrial sites.

·         9-12: Filters dust from humidifiers, Nebulizer droplets, and similar pollutants. Most often used in advanced AC systems and hospital laboratories.

·         13-16: Filters bacteria, sneeze droplets, insecticide dust, and similar pollutants. Most often used in hospital and surgical settings.

When making your home as comfortable as possible, choosing the best filter for your home can be difficult. The right filter for your HVAC system will be one that allows proper air flow through it, doesn't work the system too hard, and also protects you and your family from the right pollutants.

If you're still not sure about which filter would be best for your system, or if you'd like us to help you find ways to improve the air quality in your home, we'd be happy to help. Please contact us for more information.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

Joe Behr Plumbing and Heating, Inc. services the Mid-Ohio area. 

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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