Concentrations of certain pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher in indoor spaces than outdoors. This is concerning since Americans spend about 90 percent of their lives indoors.
Many homeowners have looked to beef up their air filtration efforts. This often includes upgrading their HVAC air filter, which are rated using a specific system.
This article explains how a furnace filter MERV rating works, specifically what pollutants each level helps remove. It also looks at MERV limitations based on your furnace. Keep reading to find out which one may be right for your home and air quality goals.
What Is a MERV Rating?
"MERV" refers to the "Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value." This is a rating of a filter's ability to capture particles of different sizes (measured in microns) as they pass through your system. This can be useful in comparing the performance you can expect out of different filters.
MERV ratings run between one and 16 (and even higher for industrial or medical settings). In general, the higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at trapping a smaller air particle size.
What Do Different MERV Ratings Eliminate?
You can find charts online that show you how small of a particle each MERV rating can achieve. But it may be more helpful to look at examples of real-world elements that you may be concerned about in your home.
For instance, the lowest furnace filter MERV rating of four or below will be able to capture most pollen, dust mites, and fibers. A MERV rating of five through eight will also capture mold and other spores, as well as dust lint and cement dust.
Filters with MERV ratings of nine through 12 can filter lead, coal, and nebulizer dust. Filters with ratings between 13 and 16 will also be able to capture airborne bacteria, auto fumes, tobacco smoke, insecticide dust, and petter danger.
There are MERV ratings higher than 16. These are typically reserved for areas like surgery rooms that must be kept safe from microscopic viruses and other contaminants.
A Note On Furnace Size
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as too high of a MERV rating. For starters, a higher MERV rating will make your HVAC system work harder. If you have a filter with a higher MERV rating than you need, then you are wasting energy and money, and creating unnecessary wear and tear on your system.
It also could keep your furnace from adequately heating your home. In more extreme cases, this could cause it to break down and not work at all. If you cannot determine the highest MERV rating suitable for your furnace, a qualified technician can advise you.
Learn More About Your Furnace Filter MERV Rating
Now that you understand how a furnace filter MERV rating works, you can determine the right level of your home or business air quality needs. Remember that the higher number is not always better. The key is getting the right level of filtration to get clean air for your home without overburdening your furnace.
Since 1958, Burnside Air Conditioning and Heating has been providing comprehensive HVAC solutions to McKinney, Plano, and the northern Dallas-Fort Worth area. We pride ourselves on having trained, experienced, knowledgeable technicians and fair, no-surprise pricing. Reach out to us today to schedule service.