What Is A MERV Rating?

Ardmore Fresh Air | HVAC

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems bring in air into the home, and with this is the tendency of bringing in dust and debris. These are unwanted particles that homeowners would rather do without. This is where filters come into play. Acting as strainers, they keep undesirable particles from entering a particular area.

As homeowners, we would prefer that the best possible filters be made available to our households so that we could ensure a healthy living environment for our loved ones and guests.

MERV Rating

Standing for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, it acts as a basis for us consumers and HVAC contractors, when choosing out a filter. The appropriate MERV Rating will be given to a specific filter, depending on its capacity to trap airborne particles and prevent them from going through.

This is especially useful to certain establishments that emphasize on keeping out even the smallest of bacteria and viruses. Medical facilities are the major customers of these types of filters.

The Right MERV Rating

Heating and Cooling Systems differ in power. The higher an MERV rating the more difficult it will be to blow air through, which is why you must refer to your HVAC technician or contractor, to see check if your units are strong enough to handle the rating of your choice.

Putting in an excessively rated filter in contrast to your system, can lead to damage of your HVAC, despite popular belief. Having to exert more effort and work at longer periods of time to achieve the required temperature, your heating and cooling system will wear and tear faster, speeding up depreciation. This not only is a hassle, due to frequent repairs, but will also cost you more money as payment for labor, new parts, and the need to purchase new units sooner than what should have been.

Getting Familiar

Now that you’re up to date with the basics, let’s get to know the different ratings and what they mean for your home’s breathing atmosphere. The ratings span from 1 to 20. The topmost parts of this spectrum are usually used in medical conditions or in an industrial set up where the products they’re making need to be free from the tiniest dust or dirt.

Merv 1 to 4

A typical choice for residential consumers, these are able to capture spray paint, dust, dust mites, pollen and insects.

Merv 5 to 8

Although usually used in commercial or industrial establishments, these can also be found in homes. These capture all that was previously mentioned, including smaller dust particles, hair spray, mold spores, cement dust, and pet dander.

Merv 9 to 12

These can still be found in a few residences, but are more frequent in commercial areas and medical institutions. They work as well as the lower models and catch lead dust, large bacteria, auto emissions, milled flour and welding fumes.

Merv 13 to 16

Usually makes an appearance in surgery rooms and smoking lounges. These are such high quality filters, they can even capture smaller bacteria, oil drops, sneeze, and smoke.

Merv 17 to 20

This is the top of the spectrum and used in set-ups, such as clean rooms, where it is a foremost issue to keep any possible particles outside. It catches up to viruses, bacteria, smaller smoke particles, even smaller dust particles that lower rated filters can’t.

If you’re hesitant about which to purchase, consult with your local HVAC technician. They know your system best. Call Ardmore Fresh Air for expert advice at (847) 792-1019.

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