Choosing Your MERV Filter: Do You Know What Those Numbers Mean? | Acosta Heating, Cooling & Electrical
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Choosing Your MERV Filter: Do You Know What Those Numbers Mean?

Posted on: October 20, 2011

Your air filters play a huge role in the indoor air quality of your home, so it’s important to know how to pick the ideal filter for your system. Knowing how to compare various filters is the first step towards achieving the quality of air that you want for you and your family.

The easiest way to compare filters is by their MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). This is a measurement of how effectively a filter can capture particles from the air that passes through it. Comparing the MERV of various filters will give you an easy way to figure out which filters are the most efficient.

A controlled test is performed on a brand of filter to determine its MERV. A pre-determined amount of particles of various sizes are sent through a filter and based on the difference of particles before and after filtering through, the MERV is established.

The lowest rated filters (1-4) are found frequently in new residential spaces. They are not designed to improve your air quality and only capture the largest particles. They are meant mainly to filter out the type of particles that could damage the heating equipment.

Filters rated between 5 and 12 are best for most homeowners, with 9-12 being the absolute best for controlling the amount of pollutants in your air. It is vital to replace them when necessary (1-3 months minimum) so that they continue to operate efficiently. If filters are neglected for too long, the captured debris will form a thick screen that actually makes your heating equipment work harder just to pass air through. This strain on your system also results in increased energy costs.

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are rated between 17 and 20 but are not commonly found in residential spaces because of the extensive ductwork modification that is frequently required to install them. They are more commonly found in hospitals and other places that rely on super clean environments.

For more information on MERV and how it impacts you and your family, contact Acosta Heating, Cooling & Electricaltoday. We serve the Charlotte area.

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