BVS Home Experts

What Is A MERV Air Filter Rating and Why is It Important?

Maybe it’s time to replace your furnace’s air filter. If so, as you search for the right filter, you’ll likely see a MERV rating. The MERV air filter rating refers to the level of filtration capabilities. 

Every home and commercial space has different filtration requirements, so make the right choice and call Sugar Land’s trusted HVAC technicians to help you choose the right filter for your furnace. 

At BVS Home Experts, we aim to keep your home comfortable and find the right MERV rating for your filter. Call our team at (281) 916-8699 today. 

What Exactly Is the MERV Rating?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. These reporting values range from MERV 1 to MERV 20.  

The higher the number of the MERV air filter rating, the better and more intense air filtration. Simply put, as this number goes up, the particle size that the air filter removes goes down. 

For example, an air filter with a low rating, like a MERV 1, can only catch large particles. On the other hand, a filter with a MERV 9 can catch those particles in addition to smaller particles like pet dander, dust, and pollen. 

What Do Air Filters Catch?

Air filters catch various harmful particles that typically float throughout your space. These particles include the following:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Mildew and mold
  • Pet dander

When you have an extremely high-quality filter with a high MERV rating, you can remove the most harmful particles circulating throughout your air.

However, you should know that not every furnace can use air filters with high MERV ratings. Instead, it’s best to speak with a licensed and trained HVAC professional from BVS Home Experts to ensure that you choose the best kind for your furnace.

A Brief Breakdown of MERV Ratings

As stated previously, MERV filter ratings range from one to 20. Below we provide a brief breakdown of the tiers of these ratings and their filtering capabilities. 

  • MERV 1 to MERV 4: This rating does its best to remove large particles, including carpet fibers, pollen, and large clumps of dust.
  • MERV 5 to MERV 7: The next tier of the rating filter catches pollen, dust, carpet fibers, mold, cooking residue, and mildew. 
  • MERV 8 to MERV 10: This level of rating filter makes an excellent choice for homeowners looking for comprehensive filters for their furnaces. These higher-rated filters can trap 85% or more air particles, including dust, cooking fumes, flour, and household smoke.
  • MERV 11 to MERV 13: This filter level does everything listed above. However, it also catches around 90% or more of air particles ranging from three to 10 microns in size. 
  • MERV 14 to 16: As you go up another tier, these encompass a superior level of commercial filters used in hospitals and other commercial buildings because they trap bacteria, viruses, and all the previously mentioned airborne particles that contribute to pollution. 

Filters above MERV 17 are only used in strict hospital or clean-room environments.

How To Choose the Right MERV Rating for Your Furnace

Because you want very clean air circulating throughout your home, you might think replacing your current filter with something like a MERV 14 filter would be a good idea. 

However, MERV 14 filters are suitable for commercial buildings and hospitals and most likely not safe to use on your current HVAC system because they may restrict airflow.

For most households, anywhere from a MERV 7 to a MERV 10 filter makes a great starting point for optimal air filtration. These filters remove small particles and still allow proper airflow through your HVAC system. In addition, this tier also provides the great benefit of filtering out a wide variety of particles that may cause respiratory problems.

When To Choose a Higher MERV Rating

Let’s say you have someone who lives in your home and suffers from allergies year-round. If this is the case, it’s wise to choose a higher MERV air filter rating than a home where this doesn’t present an issue. 

Another reason you might choose a higher MERV rating is if you have pets within the home, which causes excess dander requiring additional filtration. 

Always check with a professional HVAC technician who can assess your personal needs before installing a new filter.  

Always Replace Filters On Time

Finding the right MERV rating is significant for the health and safety of those who live within your home. However, another essential thing to remember is that you must change your filter no matter your MERV rating. If you neglect to change your filter, you still create an unhealthy environment within your home.

When you neglect to change your filter, you let all trapped particles, including dust, carpet fibers, pollen, bacteria, smoke, and cooking fumes, blow throughout your home.  

For this reason alone, you must consistently check and change your air filters. The recommended time frame to vary your air filters is one to three months.

Note that this number changes based on a few factors, including:

  • The thickness of the filter
  • The number of pleats
  • The MERV rating of your filter

In addition, the levels of dust and dander that flow throughout your home and the frequency you dust and vacuum may also cause the need for changing to fluctuate. 

Hire Sugar Land, TX, HVAC Experts

Don’t neglect your home furnace filter any longer. Neglecting your overall HVAC system may lead to an HVAC price increase when it comes time to do repairs. So, take charge of your home’s heating and cooling by changing your air filter, opting for regular HVAC maintenance, and professional repairs and installations.

At BVS Home Experts, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality and knowledgeable service to our clients to ensure that you have peace of mind as you continue to use your HVAC unit all season long. So let our local Sugarland, TX, team help you determine which MERV air filter rating best suits your furnace system today. 

Reach out to BVS Heating and Cooling and call (281) 916-8699 today for heating and cooling services that you can count on!

Author Bio:

Ronald Via

Ronald is one of the key contributors to BVS Home Experts, a family-owned and operated full-service air conditioning and heating company serving the Katy and West Houston areas. With a deep understanding of air conditioning and heating concerns, Ronald brings a wealth of knowledge to our readers.

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