Getting to Know the Benefits of MERV Filters

September 23, 2020

The residents of Somerset trust Jeffries Heating & Air + Plumbing for their home comfort needs. We can install, maintain and repair heating and cooling systems of every major brand. There is one part of climate control systems that many homeowners take for granted. Using the right filter can have a big impact on the performance of your equipment and your indoor air quality. In the HVAC industry, we use the MERV rating to measure the strength of system filters.

What Is MERV?

MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a measure of how well a filter can capture small particles. High MERV filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 micrometers. At this size, you can remove most microorganisms as well as dust and ash from your air supply. The higher the MERV number, the greater the impact it will have on indoor air quality.

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality

Many impurities are floating around in the indoor air of an average home. They can be as large as the dust particles you see floating in a sunbeam and as small as the molecules released by cigarette smoke. While regular cleaning such as vacuuming and dusting can help remove some substances, they will not address the impurities that are too small to see.

You want to address the indoor air quality of your home because it can impact the health of the people who live there. If someone is allergic to a substance in your air, he or she may feel cold symptoms that never go away. For people with asthma and other respiratory issues, irritants in the air can trigger an attack. A filter designed to remove small irritants can have a big impact.

Low-MERV Filters

Filters with a rating from MERV 1 to MERV 5 are on the low end of the filtering spectrum. These units are designed primarily to protect your heating and cooling equipment from larger impurities. Hair and larger dust particles can coat ductwork and cause lower efficiency. When these impurities make it to the furnace combustion chamber, they will produce even smaller irritants as they burn. A low-MERV filter will capture these larger substances but have little impact on your overall air quality.

Medium-MERV Filters

From MERV 6 to MERV 14, you are in the filtering range that will remove common household dirt and dust. The cost of a filter typically increases with the MERV number, but the benefits are worth it. At MERV 10, you have a filter that will remove a good portion of the pollen grains, pet dander and other allergens in your air. If you combine a strong filter with regular house cleaning, you and your family will breathe much easier.

High-MERV Filters

As the MERV number increases, you will find filters that hospitals and tech companies use to create sterile, clean rooms. MERV 15 and above will remove some of the smallest particles from your air supply. At this range, your filter will remove bacteria, tobacco smoke and other very fine particles. Most homes do not require this kind of cleanliness. However, the ability to remove particles that are less than 1 micron can be important for those with serious health issues. These small particles can get past your body’s natural defenses.

Choosing the Right Filter

You might think that it would be best to get the most powerful filter possible. There are some trade-offs when you are in the high-MERV range, however. Because these filters are made with dense materials, your system must work harder to pull air through. If it has not been designed to handle the extra work, a high-MERV filter can lead to heating and cooling systems that break down before their time.

When you contact us for your annual maintenance appointment, our technicians always examine the state of your filter. They also measure the airflow through your system. These professionals can answer your questions about which MERV rating will work with your equipment. They can also recommend products that address the indoor air quality of your home.

Your Trusted Home Comfort Partner

Jeffries Heating & Air + Plumbing is Somerset’s top choice for the care of heating and cooling systems. We can offer you installations, repairs, and maintenance options. We are also there for you seven days a week with quality plumbing services. Contact Jeffries Heating & Air + Plumbing today to learn more.

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