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Why your HVAC filter's MERV rating matters

Your air filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating plays a critical role in keeping circulating air healthy and clean.

Air filter ratings let you know how efficient your filters are at removing harmful particles from the air. But it’s not as simple as ‘the higher the rating, the better’ and there are several factors to consider before selecting your HVAC system filters.


More filtration means more energy

The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration and the cleaner the air. However, the caveat that often goes unmentioned is ‘the more expensive the energy bill’!

As they are typically thicker and more restrictive, a filter with a higher MERV rating is probably not right for your home. High-rated filters make HVAC units work harder to circulate air and regulate temperature, which leads to higher energy bills.

Filters with a MERV rating of 5–8 should be suitable for healthy air quality in your home. However, if you or someone in your household has allergies or other respiratory problems, we’d advise using a filter with a MERV rating of between 9 and 12.


Location can make all the difference

A home in a leafy suburb won’t need the same air filter rating as a downtown apartment that overlooks busy streets. This is because a populated city produces higher levels of air pollution than the outskirts, where homes are more spread out and trees more likely to grow.

For balance, a home in a suburb probably won’t need an air filter rating higher than MERV 8 (depending on pets and allergies). Homes outside of the city and in smaller towns will do well with air filters ratings of 2 and 3. For city apartments or homes that are more central, we’d recommend going with a MERV 13 rating to filter out the increased levels of pollutants.

However, if you’re reading this from a fairy-tale hamlet in Switzerland that’s surrounded by snowscapes and waterfalls, you’d probably get away with MERV 1 thanks to the pristine air quality!

As with anything HVAC-related and because no two situations are identical, it’s best to seek the advice of a specialist before committing to your filters.


Recommended MERV ratings for the ‘new normal’

Acclimatizing to our ‘new normal’ means using our learnings to guard against the virus as best we can.

The CDC states that a MERV 13 filter is at least 50% efficient at capturing particles in the 0.3 µm to 1.0 µm size range and 85% efficient at capturing particles in the 1 µm to 3 µm size range. Applying this information with insights from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the CDC recommends that office buildings and other indoor spaces use air filters with a rating of MERV 13 to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


Considerations for filters rated MERV 8 and above

Air filters with MERV ratings of 8 and above are naturally thicker, which means less space for air to travel through. To circumvent this air restriction issue, purchase higher-rated pleated filters.

Pleats give air more space to travel and don’t affect the filter’s ability to remove pollutants and contaminants. HVAC Premium’s MERV 8 filters are not only 25% thicker for better filtration, but they’re also pleated to ensure energy efficiency and optimum air circulation.

Did we mention that our MERV 8 filters don’t dent (which forces air out of the sides and strains the system)? We show off their strength in comparison to other filters in this demonstration video:



Find the air filter rating that’s best for you

Selecting the correct air filter rating promotes a healthy, clean living environment. But with so many variables to consider, how do you know which MERV rating is right for you, your loved ones, and your home’s interior?

Simple: with specialist advice and guidance from the experts.

With over ten years of experience in the industry, HVAC Premium has built-up the largest selection of HVAC supplies in America. Our inventory consists of top-of-the-line products using the best quality materials in the market.

We would love to help you find the air filter rating that’s perfect for your interior. We also provide an easy, efficient QR ordering system — simply scan the code on the side of the filter and you’ll be directed to the ordering page with the size you need. At minimum, you should be replacing your filters every three months, but we highly recommend committing to every 30 days.

If you require further information or have any questions, get in touch with an HVAC Premium consultant.


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