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What Is MERV And Why Do You Care?

furnace - air -filterAir filters are something many people do not consider or study closely.  Instead we replace them and go about our business until the next time they need changing.  Next time you replace your filter, look for the MERV rating.

Merv means “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.”  This is a measurement of how well the filters clean particles from the air that passes through.  The higher the rating, the more particles caught.

The higher number has a flip side.  The higher MERV ratings make it harder to push air through, so it takes an exceptionally powerful HVAC fan to push air through the filters.

Find your number

A filter with too high a number will have the same effect as a filter clogged with dirt.  It puts accelerated wear on the system and components.  This means your system will require more repairs and service.

Your home HVAC documentation will give you the best MERV rating for your system.  Using filters above your MERV rating will do more harm than good for your home’s efficiency.

The numbers

Your MERV ratings go from one to 20.  Residential HVAC filters are in the 1 – 4 range.  Some homeowners will use filters as high as 8.

MERV 1 – 4
These catch large particles and are the primary ones used in home HVAC.

MERV 5 – 8
These filters are found in homes but are more common in industrial and commercial settings.  They catch finer particles.

MERV 9 – 12
These filters are in commercial buildings and hospital laboratories.  They can catch emissions from cars, welding fumes and lead dust plus everything the other filters catch.

MERV 13 – 16
These filters are in surgical centers and places heavy filtration is necessary.  They can catch oil and mucus particles.

MERV 17 – 20
These filters are in rooms where absolute sterilization is necessary.  Places that manufacture electronic equipment, for example, is one such place.

If you are curious about what filter you should use for your home HVAC, contact AirTekMa for assistance.  We will gladly help you find the best solution for your home needs.


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