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How Can You Use a MERV Rating to Choose the Right Air Filter?

Published: May 15, 2013

MERV RatingIf you’ve ever had to pick out a new filter for your HVAC system, you’re sure to know that there are all kinds of options out there. Filters range in size, shape and performance, and it can be difficult to know which one is best for your home. Thankfully, we have MERV ratings to help guide our decision. Today we’re going to talk about what MERV ratings are and how you can use them to find the perfect filter for your furnace and air conditioner.

What is a filter’s MERV rating?

MERV is an acronym for minimum efficiency reporting value. It is a number that’s used to describe how efficiently a filter can remove particles from your home’s air. The higher the MERV rating of a filter, the better it is at capturing particles.

MERV ratings are calculated in a laboratory that measures the worst-case performance of a filter. That means that a filter is guaranteed to be at least as effective as the MERV rating that’s assigned to it, if not better.

What is a good MERV rating for a filter?

Residential air filters typically have MERV ratings between 1 and 16. Cheap disposable filters typically have MERV ratings between 1 and 4, while extended surface or pleated filters typically have MERV ratings of 5 and above.

Although filters with higher MERV ratings are better at protecting your HVAC system, they also make it more difficult for your air handler to push air through them. As a result, the right MERV rating for your home will depend on the power of your air handler.

The best filter for your HVAC system will be the one with the highest MERV rating that doesn’t have a significant effect on your system’s airflow and energy consumption. Be sure to check with your system’s owner’s manual or contact Tiger to find out how high of a MERV rating your HVAC system is able to handle.

If you have any questions about the MERV rating of air filters, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Tiger, your Glen Carbon plumbing, heating and air conditioning company.

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