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What MERV Ratings Mean (In Simple Terms!)

The simplest way to think of MERV is that it's a gauge of how effective the air filter is. MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the measuring stick for just how much stuff gets trapped by your air filter. The higher the rating number, the more airborne contaminants that get trapped in the filter.

EASY ENOUGH, RIGHT?

Well, there's a slight catch! (There always is...)

While a higher MERV does mean better air filtration, you need to remember that your HVAC needs to breath. Just like you don't get as much air when breathing through a sheet, your HVAC system may not get as much air flow if trying to "breath" through a high MERV air filter.

It's is worth doing some research. Check with your HVAC professional find out what the highest MERV rated filter is that still allows for maximum airflow in your system.

HOW CLEAN IS "CLEAN AIR"?

Another consideration is just what you feel like you need to filter out of your air. Unless smog is a consistent issue, you may not need a MERV 11 - MERV 13 filter. Here's the breakdown of each level of air filtration:

GOOD FILTERS FILTER OUT...

  DUST-SPOT EFFICIENCY ARRESTANCE COMMON USE APPLICATIONS TYPICAL AIR FILTER TYPE

MERV 5

MERV 6

MERV 7

MERV 8

< 20%

< 20%

20% - 30%

30% - 35%

80% - 85%

85% - 90%

> 90%

> 90%

COMMON USE APPLICATIONS

Paint Booth Inlet

Most Commercial Buildings

Basic Industrial Workplaces

Better Residential

TYPICAL AIR FILTER TYPE

 

Pleated

Fiberglass

 

BETTER FILTERS FILTER OUT...

  DUST-SPOT EFFICIENCY ARRESTANCE COMMON USE APPLICATIONS TYPICAL AIR FILTER TYPE

MERV 9

MERV 10

MERV 11

40% - 45%

50% - 55%

60% - 65%

< 90%

> 95%

> 95%

COMMON USE APPLICATIONS

Superior Residential

Better Commercial Buildings

Hospital Laboratories

 

TYPICAL AIR FILTER TYPE

 

Pleated

Fiberglass

 

BEST FILTERS FILTER OUT...

  DUST-SPOT EFFICIENCY ARRESTANCE COMMON USE APPLICATIONS TYPICAL AIR FILTER TYPE

MERV 12

MERV 13

 

* Merv 13 is the highest MERV residential air filter.

70% - 75%

85% - 90%

> 95%

> 98%

COMMON USE APPLICATIONS

Superior Residential

Superior Commercial Buildings

Hospital Inpatient Care

General Surgery Rooms

TYPICAL AIR FILTER TYPE

 

Pleated

Fiberglass

 

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