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MERV Ratings: Why Some Air Filters Are Better Than Others

Spring brings beautiful weather to the Fayetteville area, making it a great time to open the windows and let in some fresh air. However, for many people with allergies and other respiratory issues, spring means pollen season. An effective way to provide clean indoor air during pollen season — and any season — is to use a high-quality air filter.

Choosing air filters

With so many filters to choose from, it can become confusing trying to discern which filter is best for your heating and cooling equipment. However, there is a system called MERV, Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, to help you decide which filter is best. MERV ratings range from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 20 (highest efficiency). Filters rated 1-16 are for residential use, and filters rated 17-20 are for sensitive industrial use.

MERV ratings

Filters rated MERV 1-4 provide minimum protection for your heating and cooling equipment, but they do not filter your indoor air efficiently. Filters rated MERV 5-7 are reasonable options, catching mold spores, dust mite droppings and body parts, pet dander, and some chemicals such as hair spray. MERV 8-13 are much better choices, and these are recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); air filters in this range are effective against auto emissions, lead dust and humidifier dust.

By necessity and design, all air filters impede airflow to the heating and cooling equipment, but if airflow is impeded too much it can cause damage. That’s why you shouldn’t simply install the best air filters (MERV 14-16) without first consulting an HVAC professional.

For more information on choosing the right filter for your home, contact Blanton’s Heating & A/C. We’ve been committed to exceptional customer service in Fayetteville and surrounding areas for more than 60 years.