Most people do not think too much about the HVAC system in their home. They know that it is essential for their heating, ventilation, and cooling, but they only tend to think about the system when something goes wrong with it. Proper care and maintenance of the system is essential, and it can help to prolong the life of the system. A big part of the care of the system is the filter.
The filter does two jobs in the HVAC system. It makes sure that there is no dust and grime that gets into the interior workings of the system, which helps to ensure the unit stays in better working condition for longer. It also ensures that it keeps particulates out of the air that is being circulated into the home.
You need to make sure that you are changing out the air filter when needed, and that you are replacing it with a high-quality filter of the right size. When you are replacing the filter, you will notice that the available options are going to have a MERV filter rating. Chances are good that you do not know too much about this rating or why it is so important when making your decision.
MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, is a number rating associated with the filter. Understanding what the MERV numbers mean will make it easier for you to determine what type of filter you should get for your home’s system. The ratings go from MERV 1 all the way through MERV 20, and the higher the rating the better performance from the filter.
Of course, with better performance tends to come a larger expense, and it is important to keep in mind that most of the higher-end MERV ratings are going to be for laboratories, hospitals, and clean room facilities. The ones that you are going to be using for your residence will be between MERV 1 and MERV 12 in most cases. Now, let’s get a better understanding of what ratings are going to work best for different situations.
The filters that are rated MERV 1 to MERV 4 are flat and they are made from fiberglass. While these are the most affordable of the options on the market, they are also the ones that will provide the least amount of protection when it comes to the air quality of the home. They are often used in window AC units for residences.
These do not tend to last as long as higher-rated filters, so you will have to replace them regularly. In addition, they do not do much to improve the quality of the air in the home. In most cases, it would be a more cost-effective and healthier option to choose an air filter with a higher rating.
The filters with MERV ratings from 5 – 8 are generally used for residences, and they are typically considered to be adequate for many homes, as long as there are no pets and there are no people who have severe allergies. Filters with a rating of 7 or higher are considered to be about as effective as HEPA filters.
The best quality MERV filter ratings for a home, and that do not require modifications to the HVAC system, will be between MERV 9 and MERV 12. They can keep out very small particles, making the air cleaner and healthier.
When you can understand the MERV filter rating and what type of air quality it can offer, it will become much easier to know which type of filter you should be getting for your residence.