What MERV Rating Should I Use for My Home Air Filter?

What MERV Rating Should I Use for My Home Air Filter?

Mesa Homeowner Changing Air Conditioning FilterIf you have ever shopped for a new air filter for your home, you have seen the variety of types available. In fact, we covered these in a blog post last month titled, A Home Air Filter Buying Guide for Your HVAC System.

But even among filters of the same type, there can be a wide variance of quality and efficiency. For that reason, the MERV rating was developed.

What is MERV?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a measure of the efficiency of the air filter (the amount of airborne pollutants it removes). The MERV rating helps you determine which air filter you should use for your home air filter.

What do the MERV ratings mean?
In general, air filters with higher MERV ratings remove a higher percentage of airborne contaminants, therefore improving your home’s indoor air quality. But does that mean you should just get the air filter with the highest MERV rating? Not necessarily.

  • 1-4 MERV – This is the lowest end of filters. They remove large airborne particles that could otherwise damage your heater or air conditioner, but they do little in the way of improving your indoor air quality. Due to the dusty air in our area, Mesa homeowners with these filters should replace them about once a month.
  • 5-8 MERV – Air filters with MERV ratings of 5-8 last longer than their less expensive counterparts. Filters in this range are usually 1-2-inch pleated filters. They are used in both residential and commercial applications and they can improve your home’s indoor air quality by removing harmful contaminants such as mold spores, hair spray fumes, and smaller dust particles.
  • 9-12 MERV – These filters are more efficient and usually offer the best indoor air quality improvement for residential applications. Deep pleated filters fall into this category. Because they work so well at removing airborne pollutants, they must be regularly checked to ensure proper airflow.
  • 13-16 MERV – Filters in this category are used in hospitals and clean rooms, where airborne contaminants must be almost completely eliminated. These are not recommended for residential use as they restrict airflow and can damage your heating and cooling system.

So is the higher MERV always better?
No. It will depend greatly on your heating and cooling system and your home’s size. You must strike a balance between removing the most airborne contaminants while still maintaining adequate airflow.

At Fountain Hills Air Conditioning & Heating, we provide the best heating, cooling, and air quality service available in Phoenix and the surrounding area. For more helpful tips and tricks, subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Contact us online for more information or call (480) 648-0530

We serve Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Rio Verde, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek, Carefree, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Gilbert and the Phoenix area with expert air conditioning and heating services.