What Are MERV Air Filter Ratings?

It is common knowledge that you should change your air filter often.  The recommended amount of time is every three months.  Changing the air filters will increase the efficiency of your HVAC system as well as improve indoor air quality, or IAQ.  To take full advantage of all that air filters can do, you need to use the right one for your system.  But when you go to the store to get a new one, you are met with many sizes and options.  If you’re like most, you have no clue what the difference is.  Follow this handy guide to choosing air filters to find the one that is right for your air conditioning and heating system.

Man holding Air Filter

MERV Ratings

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is a scale that is used to measure an air filter’s filtration system.  The ASHRAE, or American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers assign MERV ratings to air filters from 1 to 16 with 1 being at the low end of air filtration and 16 at the high end.

What Does MERV Measure?

Air filters are designed to block particles from entering the home and lowering indoor air quality.  MERV measures the smallest particle an air filter can block.  For example, the numbers 1 through 10 are lower-end filters that block particles that are 10 microns or bigger.  To give you perspective, a human hair is considered to be 50 microns in diameter.  The types of filters that usually fall within this rating are reusable filters or fiberglass spun filters.  Air filters rated 11 to 16 will filter out even smaller particles.  These air filters are the minimum recommendation for residential air filtration.  Air filters with these MERV ratings will filter out anything from mold and mildew particles to smoke particles that can be extremely harmful to breathe in.  Some high-end air filters can even block some harmful bacterial particles such as Legionella which can be detrimental to your health.  The bottom line is that if you want to improve your indoor air quality, you will invest in an air filter that has a higher MERV rating to filter out the most dust, debris, and particles as possible.

What Does This Mean for Military and Veterans?

If you serve our country in the military, your health is essential.  You want to have the highest air quality possible to ensure you stay healthy to perform your military duties to the utmost of your abilities.  For this reason, be sure to use high-quality air filters in your home.

Regular HVAC maintenance and regularly changing your high rated MERV air filters will go a long way towards improving the air you breathe.  Comfort Experts can help!  Schedule your regular maintenance with us as soon as possible.  We can also make air filter recommendations if you are unsure about what is best for your system.  Military personnel and veterans, ask about our discount.