HEPA and MERV Filters: Which Is Better for Your AC Unit?

HEPA and MERV filters

HEPA and MERV filters: What are they and which one is best for your home? Indoor air quality has become a more critical issue than ever as houses become more tightly sealed and energy efficient. In this enclosed environment, airborne particulates and fumes may become more concentrated. This can range from a simple annoyance to a source of allergic reactions and even chronic illness.

The HVAC air filter is the principal defense against poor indoor air quality. All the air inside the house typically passes through the filter many times per day. However, all filters are not created equal, and not all filters are appropriate for a residential HVAC system. HEPA and MERV filters present different pros and cons for different applications. Here’s a comparative look at HEPA and MERV filters as options:

  • HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. It’s considered the standard for high-efficiency filtration utilized in hospitals and other health facilities, as well as in commercial laboratories. HEPA filters trap 99.9% of particulates ranging from common dust to mold spores, bacteria, and smoke.
  • MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) filters are most common for residential applications. They are rated by the MERV numeral system from 1 to 20. Inexpensive fiberglass filters occupy the low end of the MERV scale below 5 and typically remove only larger airborne particles of dust and dirt.
  • HEPA filters have thick filtration media. In a typical residential system, a HEPA filter restricts airflow excessively unless special alterations are made, such as adding a bypass duct that diverts a portion of airflow through the HEPA filter. Portable air purifiers for single rooms also typically include HEPA filtration.
  • MERV filters rated from 8 to 14 are usually pleated cotton or polyester. They come in standard sizes and require no alterations to HVAC components. As the most appropriate choice for most residential HVAC systems, MERV filters typically provide good indoor air quality with optimum airflow at an affordable cost.

Paitson Bros. has more information about HEPA and MERV filters and which one fits your application best. We’re proud to be Terre Haute’s choice for HVAC sales and service since 1922.

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    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.

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    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.

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