If you are like many other homeowners, you know that you need to replace the filter in your HVAC system regularly. But did you know that you also need to pay attention to the type of filter you purchase? There are several types of filters, and they vary in their ability to remove particulate matter from your air.
The minimum efficiency reporting value is a scale used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. If you want to choose the best filter for your cooling and heating system, it’s a good idea to become familiar with MERV filter ratings:
- MERV 1-4: These filters are the least expensive and the least effective at removing particulate matter from your indoor air, even though they’re found in many residential systems. Typically, they can capture particulate matter such as pollen, moss, dust, textile fibers, insect parts and the like. But they can’t capture particles that are smaller than 10 microns. Filters in this range often don’t even carry a MERV rating.
- MERV 5-8: Filters in this range capture particles as small as 3 microns. These filters can generally capture mold spores, dander, hair spray and pollen. They are often a good choice for residential heating and cooling systems.
- MERV 9-12: These are considered high quality because they remove particles down to 1 micron. They can capture lead dust, nebulizer drops and auto emissions. They are a good choice for families with respiratory issues, as they afford maximum dust control. But because they are so dense and capture so much, they must be checked and changed routinely. A high-efficiency MERV filter that’s clogged with particulate matter can impair the efficiency of your HVAC system.
- MERV 13-20: Although these are the highest-rated filters, they are generally used only in hospitals, pharmaceutical factories and clean rooms. They are not suitable for most residential systems and could actually harm your equipment.
Once you have chosen the right filter, remember to check it often and change it regularly. If you have questions about MERV filters or any home-comfort issues, contact All Year Heating, Air and Solar. For more than 40 years, we have served residents of the Sacramento area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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