What is a MERV Rating? Your HVAC Repair Questions, Answered

Did you know that more than 75 percent of homes in the United States of America are equipped with air conditioners? There is nothing worse than when you discover that you need HVAC repair on one of the hottest days of the summer. While knowing how to replace an air filter helps, knowing how do MERV ratings work is even more beneficial.

But what is a MERV rating? And what does it tell you? MERV ratings are vital to replacing your air filter with the right replacement. The good news is that you’ve found the perfect MERV rating guide that will explain what a MERV rating is as well as answer your HVAC FAQ.

Continue reading to learn more about what a MERV rating is and why it is important for your home’s HVAC system.


What Is a MERV Rating?

MERV is an acronym that stands for Minimum Efficiency Report Values. This helps to show you the number of particles in the air that the air filter is capable of capturing.

MERV is the industry standard when it comes to HVAC systems as a way to measure how effective an air filter is. It is important because certain air conditioners require air filters with a certain MERV rating in order to work to the best of their abilities.

MERV looks at particles that measure between 0.3 and 10 microns. The MERV rating goes all the way up to 20. The higher the number, the better that air filter is at capturing the most particles and pumping out clean air into your home or workplace.

There are a number of different things that the air filters get tested against. These particles include things like pollen, dust mites, mold spores, tobacco smoke, and pet dander. When you’re shopping for a replacement air filter for your HVAC system you’ll find the MERV number directly on the packaging.

It is important to note that there are a few air filter brands that have their own rating system for capturing air particles. For example, air filters made by the company 3M use their own rating system called the Microparticle Performance Rating. MERV rating guides help you to compare how effective air filters are across brands.


What is a MERV Rating


Choosing the Right MERV Rating

When it comes to choosing the right MERV rating for your air filter, it is important to have an idea of what most air conditioners work best with. It is likely that the air conditioner at your home works best with a filter rated somewhere between 7 and 12. Some air conditioners call for air filters that are rated at 13 and above, so make sure you check before making any purchases.

Air conditioners that require MERV ratings of 13 or higher tend to be in places like hospitals, labs, and operation rooms. These rooms need to remain sterile and spotless to prevent the spread of disease and infection. Most homes only require a MERV rating between seven and 12.

Do some research to determine which MERV rating works best with your HVAC system. Another good step to take when replacing your air filter is to check the MERV rating of the old air filter. If you check your old air filter and it has a MERV rating of 10 then it is a safe bet that a new air filter with the same MERV rating will work safely and efficiently with your air conditioner.

A higher rating means that it has smaller pores. While this keeps the air cleaner, it comes at a cost. Since the areas that the air flows through are smaller, it means that your system won’t be as efficient as a system with a lower MERV rating.

This is also important because if you decrease the amount of airflow too drastically it can damage your HVAC system and lead to costly HVAC repairs. A good approach to take is to check the manual for your HVAC system.


What is a MERV Rating


When To Change Your HVAC Air Filter

When it comes to your HVAC system, routine maintenance is vital. It helps to keep the system clean and working the way you expect it to work when you need it most. A massive part of HVAC maintenance is checking your air filter and replacing it when the time comes. It is one of the best ways to avoid needing to change your air filter in the middle of a hot summer day.

When it comes to the MERV rating, there is a good rule of thumb that you should follow. The higher the MERV rating is for your air conditioner’s air filter, the more frequent the replacements need to be. Air filters with a higher MERV rating have more restricted airflow compared to filters with a lower MERV rating.

Over a period of time, your air filter will get dirty and clogged from all of the mold spores, pet dander, dirt, and pollen that it catches and keeps out of the air in your home. This restricts the airflow even further and causes your HVAC system to become inefficient.

A good estimate of how often to change your air filter in your HVAC system is every three months or so. This will ensure that your system continues working well when you need it most. It will also save you hundreds of dollars on costly repairs for your HVAC system from an HVAC repair professional.

Start Using MERV Ratings Today

When it comes to maintaining your HVAC system and keeping that cold air flowing on those hot summer days, there aren’t many things more important than your air filter. When you’re picking out an air filter you’re going to run into MERV ratings, so it is important to know what is a MERV rating and how it affects your air conditioner.

Matching your new air filter to your air conditioner is important because some air conditioners require a higher MERV rating. This is especially true for places like hospitals and labs. The wrong MERV rating for your air filter will cause issues with efficiency and lead to damage within the system.

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