Understanding MERV Ratings: What Do They Mean and How to Choose the Right One

MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Report Value” and is a measure of how effectively a filter removes particles from the air that passes through it. The higher the MERV index, the more particles the filter will capture. An official website of the United States government, gov, is owned by an official government organization in the United States. The Minimum Efficiency Report, or MERV, values indicate the ability of a filter to capture particles larger than 0.3 to 10 microns (µm). All air purifiers require periodic cleaning and filter replacement to work properly.

Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for maintenance and replacement. If you want to know what a MERV rating is, you're in the right place. In short, a MERV rating lets you know what size of air particles an air filter will catch. A higher rating means that the filter can trap smaller air particles. The microns indicate how small the particles the filter will stop. The percentage indicates how many of those particles are likely to stop.

For example, MERV 6 stops particles with a size of 3 to 10 microns with an efficiency of 50%. This means that approximately half of all particles in this size range (or more) will be trapped by the filter. It will take several cycles through the filter to remove most of the particles in this size range. MERV scores from 1 to 8 are commonly used for homes and businesses. They're good at filtering out the usual suspects when it comes to poor air quality.

This includes MERV ratings (between 8 and 12), which are considered to create high air quality. By filtering particles as small as 1 micron, hospitals and laboratories often use the Merv 8-12, together with residential and commercial buildings that seek especially clean air. For the most part, non-laboratory spaces don't need a MERV greater than 12, so unless you run an ICU or pharmaceutical laboratory, you don't have to worry about higher-rated filters. If you are responsible for storing and replacing your building's air filters, it's essential to choose the right MERV classification. Many homes and businesses use MERV 1-4 to filter common dust, dander and carpet fibers and prevent dust from accumulating inside the building. For a higher level of air quality without overpaying for filters, MERV ratings from 8 to 12 are an excellent option for filtering smaller air particles and increasing the total percentage of particles removed from the air with each pass. Pleated filters that are MERV 8 to 13, unlike fiberglass, can effectively filter small particles and reduce the pressure drop (this is the closest thing to MerVana you can find).Most MERV 7 or higher air filters are effective in trapping dust, mold spores, tobacco smoke, pet dander and pollen.

Increase your MERV rating if there have been air quality problems in the building or certain air quality parameters that you must meet. If someone in your household has allergies or asthma, you should consider buying an air filter with a higher MERV content. In fact, as the MERV rating increases, air flow decreases, forcing the HVAC system to work harder to move air through the furnace, increasing the possibility of a potential breakdown. Oven and air filters with a value higher than MERV 13 are usually found in a hospital environment, where air sanitation is of the utmost importance. Filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 13 are usually high-end filters for household use or high-quality commercial filters. The MERV rating of your filters tells you, on a scale of 1 to 16, how effectively the filter traps small particles that you don't want to circulate in your home, such as dust, pollen, mold and other irritants. Filters with higher MERV scores can remove more harmful contaminants from your home, but they can reduce the quality of the air you breathe if you select a filter with a MERV rating that is too efficient for your HVAC system. Filters with higher MERV values trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV scores.

MERV 11-13 air filters are a kind of middle ground between the cheapest and the most expensive.

Deanne Capetillo
Deanne Capetillo

Incurable music evangelist. Incurable coffee geek. Hipster-friendly food scholar. Certified pop cultureaholic. Friendly coffee junkie.

Leave a Comment

All fileds with * are required