In the Market for New Air Filters? Know What MERV Rating to Look For

merv rating

Haven’t we all made a “panic purchase?” You know what I mean: It’s the purchase that follows a mad dash to the store, where we grab a product, hustle it up to the cashier and make an equally mad dash back home. Now that you’re not dashing about, take a few minutes to learn a little about air filters so that the next time you have to make a mad dash to the store, you can grab a filter with confidence.

Air filters are classified by their MERV rating, an acronym that stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. The MERV rating should be clearly noted on a sticker on the outside of the filter package.

MERV ratings usually range between 1 and 16, though the upper limit sometimes goes up to 20. The lower the number, the less proficient the filter is at blocking airborne particles. And as you might guess, the lower the number, the less the filter usually costs.

For example, low-cost filters often have MERV ratings of between 1 and 4. Medium-efficiency air filters have MERV ratings of between 5 an 13 and are proficient at removing small to large airborne particles. High-efficiency filters usually carry MERV ratings of between 13 and 16.

Families with asthma or respiratory problems may be inclined to choose a less common but known workhorse air filter: the high efficiency particulate air filter, or HEPA filter. These super-high efficiency filters carry MERV ratings of between 17 and 20, and they are often reusable.

If you have pets, if someone in your home smokes or if you’re concerned about your home’s indoor air quality for any other reason, you’re going to want to purchase a higher-rated filter. But you need to know which filter will work best with your system. And therein lies the key to choosing the right air filter for you and your home – consult a professional!

If you’re not sure which filter is right for you, your friends at Scott’s Heating & Air Conditioning can help. We can eliminate the mad-cap purchase at the local home improvement store — we’d be happy to help you determine the right filter for your home and we’ll even deliver it to your door.

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