Choosing An Air Filter? Use MERV

When it’s time to change filters in your HVAC system, you may not want a new filter just like the old one. Homeowners may desire more efficient filtration or increased airflow in the system or a filter with a longer service life. Fortunately, you don’t have to flip a coin on these issues. To help consumers comparison shop, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers developed a rating system that’s now the industry standard. The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) number describes a filter’s efficiency in relation to the size of the particles removed by the filter and the airstream velocity. MERV rates filters on a scale from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV number, the smaller the particulates it removes from the air.

Filters installed as original equipment in HVAC systems are often rated in the 1 to 4 range. These are the general-purpose, disposable type and do not remove particulates smaller than 10 microns. For most home environments, filters with a MERV rating of  5 to 8 are suitable. These filter out particles down to 3 microns and will eliminate most dust, pet dander and pollen from your living space.

For homes with residents particularly sensitive to airborne contaminants, filters rated from 9 to 12 on the scale remove particles in the 1 to 3 micron range. These include most common triggers of allergic reactions such as spores, bacteria and components of tobacco smoke. Filters in this range should be carefully maintained according to manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning and replacement.

Filters above MERV 12 are generally used in hospitals, industrial clean rooms and other specialty applications. They require high system air flow to overcome filter air resistance.

When selecting replacement filters, remember that filters with a higher initial cost may be more economical over the life of the filter. Also be aware that performance of any filter depends on proper installation.

For all your HVAC needs, contact us at Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning. Since 1922, homeowners in the Terre Haute area have relied on us.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about MERV and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Paitson Bros. Heating and Air Conditioning services Terre Haute, Indiana. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!

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    By Jeff Paitson
  • About Jeff

    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

    Jeff’s belief is that the business belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore 10 percent of the company’s profits go toward the Maryland Community Church.

    Jeff is a Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce member and in his spare time, he enjoys photography.
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  • About Ethan


    Ethan Ethan Rayburn is a lifelong resident of Terre Haute and a 2005 graduate of Purdue University.

    An Eagle Scout, Ethan spent four years as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America before joining Paitson Bros. as a comfort advisor and later General Manager. In that role, Ethan has brought a renewed enthusiasm for customer care, integrity, value, and service to Paitson Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

    Ethan enjoys singing and was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. He also enjoys playing and coaching soccer, spending time with his family and two young boys, and volunteering his time and resources with his church, Terre Haute First Baptist Church, which he has attended from a very young age.
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