What Does MERV Mean? – Air Bourne Air
The dry heat and dust in Cypress, TX demand a well-maintained air conditioning system. When shopping for replacement air filters for your AC unit or furnace, you may have noticed a one or two-digit number labeled MERV. What is MERV, and how does it affect your forced air systems?
What Is MERV?
MERV is an acronym that stands for Minimum Efficiency Value Reporting. It is a measurement of how effectively the filter will block dust particles and pathogens. MERV ratings were developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to help consumers understand what to expect from their filters. Air filters are rated from 1 to 16. Higher ratings mean the air filter will be able to control the passing of smaller and more varied types of particles. An air filter with a MERV rating of 16 is able to keep many contaminants out of your indoor air system.
- Dust mites
- Pollen and mold spores
- Fibers from clothing, carpets, and furniture
- Pet hair and dander
For home AC maintenance, a MERV rating between 7 and 12 is enough to keep your home clear of potential sources of contamination. AC and heater maintenance in hospitals and other medical settings require a higher rating due to an increased number of airborne bacteria. In these settings, a rating of 13 through 16 ensures that patients are breathing healthy air.
Choosing the Right Filter
A higher rating does not necessarily mean a better filter. High-rated filters have smaller holes. While this means fewer contaminants will make it through your system, it also means less air can pass. Less air can actually result in a lower indoor air quality. It can also put pressure on your forced air system that could damage your furnace, heat pump, or AC over time.
For home AC and heating maintenance, stick to lower ratings for best results. Industrial and commercial buildings with more powerful systems are better equipped to deal with higher-rated filters.
The smaller holes on high-rated filters also mean you will need to change your filters more often to keep the contaminants out of your breathing space. Keep that in mind when choosing your product.