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Selecting the right air filter for your home is critical for keeping your HVAC system running efficiently and for making your indoor air quality better. It begins with understanding the MERV rating system for air filters.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This rating tells you how efficient your filter is on a scale running from 1 to 16. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is. This is the standard rating most manufacturers use on their packaging.

Selecting an Air Filter

If you want to choose the best air filter for your home, start by looking at its MERV rating.

  • Fiberglass filters often have a MERV rating no higher than 3. These are the filters about an inch thick with spun fiberglass fibers in a cardboard frame. This filter grabs only the larger particles but does not give any filtering for allergens or other microscopic particulates.
  • Pleated filters can have a MERV rating of 5 to 8. They are made from polyester or cotton paper which filters smaller particulates than fiberglass filters. They block some smaller particulates like pollen, spores, and dust mites. This can reduce allergens in the home. However, this kind of filter can strain the air handling or blower system.
  • Electrostatic filters can have a MERV rating up to 10. They are usually made from self-charging cotton or paper. These fibers attract and capture tiny particulates like pet dander, hair spray, and some auto emissions. They do not hamper airflow like pleated filters do. Permanent ones with washable filters can last many years.
  • High-efficiency pleated filters can have a MERV rating up to 16. These filters contain deep 4 to 5 inch pleats of cotton attached to a rigid metal frame. They require changes to ductwork and may require a high-pressure air system to work.

For more on how to choose the best air filter, or to get more information MERV, contact us here at Brennan’s Heating & Air.