The type of air filter in your furnace plays a major role in your health, air quality and system efficiency. How do you know which one is right for you? While upgrading your air filter can help make your home's air cleaner, it may not be the right choice for your system. To know how effective your air filter is and what it's capable of, you'll have to understand the MERV rating.
MERV is the minimum efficiency reporting value. It reflects an air filter's ability to catch particles and prevent them from passing through your ducts. MERV filters range from 1 to 16, and the higher MERV rating, the more efficient the air filter will be. However, this doesn't mean that you should upgrade to the highest number possible.
Filters with the highest MERV ratings are not designed to function in residential HVAC systems. They are instead used to power industrial-level systems in facilities that require the utmost level of air sanitation such as hospitals.
Below are the four most common types of MERV filters:
MERV 6: MERV 6 filters are affordable and remove dust, lint and pollen particles from the air. If your home has good indoor air quality and you only want to remove the most common household allergens and contaminants from the air, then a MERV 6 or 7 filter will do the job.
MERV 8: The next level of filtration protects your home against mold spores, which can be helpful for homeowners who experience high humidity indoors. However, finding the root cause of the humidity is the best line of defense.
MERV 11: Pet dander, smoke, and smog can be filtered out if you have this type of air filter. A MERV 11 filter is especially beneficial for people who own multiple pets, smoke or if there are any residents who have respiratory issues.
MERV 13: The highest level of residential air filters, the MERV 13 design also effectively eliminates viral spores and bacteria from the air. This filter provides the greatest level of air sanitation and may be the right choice for those with respiratory illnesses, weakened immune systems or are combating high levels of indoor air pollution.
While cleaner air is always a plus, be cautious about upgrading your MERV filter without considering the impact it will have on your system. The higher the rating, the greater the resistance your system faces.
An experienced HVAC technician can check the specifics of your system to determine the maximum MERV rating it could support without compromising performance. Choosing a filter that is too strong for your system can reduce its efficiency ten-fold and lead to serious damage or mechanical failure.
Hero Plumbing, Heating & Cooling is available to help you make the right choices for your home's heating and cooling system. Contact us here or call (612) 324-1004 to learn more about our services and to schedule your next appointment.