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MERV Ratings ‑ Which AC Filter is right for you

May 06, 2020

What is a MERV rating?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and it tells you how effective a filter is at removing particles from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter can remove.

For example, AC filters with a MERV rating of 5 can filter out carpet fibers and dust mites, meanwhile, AC filters with a MERV rating between 14-16 are used in hospitals to catch microscopic particles.

MERV Rating vs Filtration Capabilities

What is the best AC filter if you have allergies?

MERV 11 filters are ideal because they are effective at catching small particles, while still allowing enough air to pass through the filter.

Additionally, MERV 11 filters are especially useful if your household has:

  • Allergy sufferers: MERV 11 filters can trap pet dander, pollen, dust, and mold.
  • Heavy smokers: If your home is full of smoke, MERV 11 filters can catch the particles to help you breathe easier.
  • Elderly people (65+ years old) or young children (5 years old or below) with respiratory problems: If you live in a metropolitan area and experience heavy pollution that might irritate your lungs, MERV 11 filters can help improve your indoor air quality.

Should you buy a MERV 13+ filter?

While MERV 13 filters are excellent at filtering small particles homeowners should verify their AC are designed to handle the decrease in airflow. The higher the MERV rating, the more tightly woven the filter is, which makes it difficult for air to pass through. If your AC doesn’t get enough airflow, it can cause something called a pressure drop.

What exactly are pressure drops? They occur when air is slow to enter your AC system and they can lead to:

  • Increased AC bills: If your AC can’t circulate enough air, your AC will have to work longer to produce the same amount of cooled air. Over time, this increased energy use means increased monthly utility bills.
  • AC Damage: Lack of airflow can cause your AC coils to freeze, which can damage your AC compressor. If your compressor becomes damaged, you could be looking at an expensive repair.

All-in-all, we recommend MERV 11 filters because they are effective at filtering out fine particles, but also allow sufficient airflow to your AC system.

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