Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Using MERV To Choose An Air Filter? Why You Should

When it comes time to choose an air filter for your air conditioner or heating system, guesswork is not an option. Understanding the implications of your filter’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) can help you compare potential filters and find the level of efficiency you need. So what is MERV?

With a rating of 1-20, MERV is an indication of the efficiency level with which a filter blocks airborne pollutants down to 0.3 micron. To put it in context, consider the following:

  • Low end disposable filters carry a MERV of between 1 and 4. They only catch the very largest particulates.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers filters scoring a MERV between 5 and 13 to be reasonably efficient for household use.
  • Filters rating a MERV of 13 to 16 are often found in hospital settings and are capable of removing about 75 percent of airborne pollutants on the first pass. This is better than it sounds, since the air is constantly circulating, so each time it passes through the filter, it catches another three-quarters of what’s left.
  • True HEPA filters capable of removing approximately 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants down to 0.3 micron have a MERV between 17 and 20.

It’s important to realize, however, that an air filter can’t be chosen on MERV alone. In fact, some high-efficiency filters may not be compatible with your system. Using a True HEPA air filter, for example, in the average household system can diminish air flow to the point of causing system damage. While understanding MERV can help you differentiate between filters in terms of efficiency, you must also have a working knowledge of your HVAC system to make the correct choice.

Of course, to ensure that the filter you choose is the most appropriate for your system, professional consultation is recommended. If you’re considering a new air filter in your Yuma area cooling and heating system, our trained technicians can provide the knowledge and experience you need to make an informed decision. For more information, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company today.

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Hansberger Refrigeration & Electric Co services the Yuma area in Arizona. To get started, check out our website.