If you’ve never heard of MERV ratings and aren’t really sure what they are, you’re not alone. MERVs are some of the lesser-known home comfort ratings, but it’s important to know what they can tell you about your heating and cooling systems. Keep reading to learn how MERV ratings play a part in your family’s comfort and health. Our knowledgeable Sabre Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning pros tell all—then reach out if you have follow-up questions for us.

What is a MERV rating?

Learn why MERV ratings are important to your heating and cooling systemsFirst things first, you need to know what a MERV rating is. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and it represents how effective a filter is at removing airborne contaminants. Ratings range anywhere from one to 16, with a higher rated product removing more particles from the air. Most residential air systems use MERV filters rated between six and 12, while hospitals utilize higher quality filters rated between 13 and 16 for safety reasons.

How do MERV ratings affect efficiency?

It’s true that higher MERV ratings indicate cleaner air, which is obviously a good thing. But you need to select a filter based on what best fits your system. If a filter rating is too high for your unit, it will block airflow, lower efficiency, and increase the chance of breakdowns because your system can’t cycle correctly. Instead of risking problems with an incorrect selection, work with a pro who knows which rating is right for your system.

Which MERV rating is right for your system?

To find the right MERV rating for your comfort system, check your manual or the current filter for a rating, or call us for a professional recommendation. While too high a rating can certainly impede your system’s efficiency, there is room to improve air quality. Ask your technician about a higher rating for cleaner air, without sacrificing comfort or damaging your system.

If you’re in the market for a new system, let your technician know you’re interested in improving your air quality. Often times, a more efficient system that uses a filter with a higher MERV rating can make a world of difference. But you might also benefit from other affordable air quality products, like humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilators, and more.

What types of contaminants do air filters remove?

Air filters are typically made up of spun fiberglass material or pleated paper/cloth within a cardboard frame. These materials were specifically chosen because they trap and remove these airborne pollutants:

  • Dust/Dirt
  • Pollen
  • Fibers
  • Lint
  • Mold/mold spores
  • Metal, plaster, or wood particles
  • Hair and animal fur
  • Bacteria and microorganisms

Because all filters aren’t created equal, selecting the right MERV rating is key. Look for a MERV rating between six and eight. These filters provide good filtration and are most commonly used in residential settings. Or you can step up to a MERV rating of nine to 12—these mid-range filters capture particles as small as one micron.

Air Quality Help Starts at Sabre

Whether you’re looking for a new filter or a new way to clear the air in your home, the pros at Sabre are here to help. We recommend and install air filters and air quality systems from Bryant® to ensure your family is breathing clean, healthy air. Call 763-473-2267 or contact us if you have questions or concerns—our experts would be happy to help.