How to Decode HVAC Air Filter Ratings

How to Decode HVAC Air Filter Ratings | Paitson Bros.Each HVAC air filter comes with a “MERV” rating printed on it. Merv isn’t the name of the guy who packed the shipment; it stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, a mouthful of a term that expresses the filter’s efficiency at removing airborne particulates inside your home. MERV is a numeral ranging from 1–16. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles it can filter out of your air.

Because the entire volume of air inside your house circulates through the HVAC air filter several times each day, the quality of that filter directly impacts indoor air quality and your healthy household environment. To maintain full filtration efficiency, air filters should be changed monthly. Here’s a brief rundown of MERV categories:

MERV 1–4

These are usually inexpensive fiberglass panel filters, often supplied as original equipment with a new system. They protect moving parts in the system from dust contamination, but otherwise do little to contribute to healthy indoor air quality. Anything smaller than easily visible dust particles slips through the filter media. HVAC professionals commonly refer to filters in this range as “throwaways” that should be immediately discarded.

MERV 5–8

This range is most appropriate for general residential use. These are usually high-quality pleated cotton or polyester filters and remove airborne particulates down to a size of 3 microns. This includes all dust and lint, pet dander, pollen, dust mites and airborne mold spores.

MERV 9–12

Generally recommended for use in homes where occupants have particularly high allergic sensitivities to certain airborne particles and fumes, these filters take out particulates as small as 1 micron.

MERV 13–16

This category comes with a caveat. MERV ratings above 12 are most efficient at filtering air. However, the dense filter media excessively restricts airflow in typical residential systems. Filters in this highest range are generally reserved for hospitals, clinics and other commercial HVAC systems with powerful blowers and air circulation.

Safeguarding indoor air quality since 1922, Paitson Bros. can advise you on the right HVAC air filter for your household.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Terre Haute, Indiana about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 812-645-6859.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Palto/Shutterstock”

This entry was posted in Air Filters and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

What is 0 + 0 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
  • Click Here, For
  • » Call Us: 1 (812) 232-2347

  • How Can We Help?

    We're glad to answer questions... just click below for our contact form:

    Free Estimate

    Schedule Service

  • Recent Posts

  • Topics




  • Life's Journey &quo...
    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.
    More »
  • 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.
    More »