MERV Ratings 101: Understand Air Filters

Choosing a Filter for Improved Indoor Air Quality in Aurora, IL

Air Filter Rating Basics

Besides having the right furnace and AC installed by professional HVAC installers in the Aurora, IL area, the best way to ensure home comfort is with having the proper air filter. But knowing which air filter to buy can be confusing.

Do you know about the MERV rating and what that means for air filters?

Maximum is here to help! Having provided heating and cooling services across Aurora for decades, our team at Maximum Heating & Air Conditioning has serviced every type and brand of home HVAC system. And one thing is clear – if you don’t have a proper, clean filter, your entire system is at risk of performing poorly or even breaking down.

Not all air filters are the same. In fact, different air filters have varying levels of success in blocking out hazardous micro-particles. To figure out the best air filter for your home, it is important to be aware of the MERV rating.

Very dirty air filter

Different Types of Filters

It is not always easy to know exactly which filter your system needs. Beyond the size of the air filter, you have another option to consider – how well it filters out harmful particles in the air. The answer isn’t the same for everyone. Some may need an expensive high-filtering filter while others would be okay with a more standard (and cheaper) filter.

The most common filters are traditional fiberglass air filters. These are usually pleated, which is the superior design for best air filtration. Not only that, but these filters are assigned a MERV rating which indicates how efficient it is at filtering out dirt and debris.

Understanding What MERV Means

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value.

The higher the number, the more efficient the filter is at filtering – which means it is better at stopping small particles from going out your vents. Most residential filters have MERV ratings between 1 and 4 and typically can remove such particles as:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Sanding dust
  • Carpet fibers

MERV Ratings Chart

How high a filter’s rating is determined from The Dust Spot Efficiency Test. This measures how well an air filter can remove dust particles from the air. Good filters can remove at least 90% of harmful tiny particles.

Lower MERV rated filters do no filter out smaller particles. Particles that are smaller than 10 microns typically can get through most home air filters with MERV ratings of 4 or less.

Examples of particles smaller than 10 microns include:

  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Aerosol spray

People looking for furnace filters that will block the most particles from their indoor air will want one with a MERV rating of 11 or 13. These higher rated filters will likely cost more money but will be worth the additional cost with the benefits you receive from having much cleaner indoor air.

High MERV-rated air filters are especially important for homeowners who have the following situations:

2.	Woman with asthma could use an air filter with a higher merv rating
  • Have asthma or respiratory health problems
  • Own pets
  • Smoke, or live with people who smoke
  • Your city has high levels of pollution

 Any filter that is above a MERV 13 filter is likely not intended for residential use. Those high-rated air filters are extremely efficient ones. So much so, they are intended for facilities that have unique air quality needs, such as medical facilities.

Let Maximum Help Clear Your Air!

A good, clean air filter is the first step towards ensuring clean air inside your home.

Indoor air pollution is a big issue. In fact, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) provides an interactive tour you can explore to learn about the types of pollutants and contaminants typical for the rooms in a house.

That’s why regularly changing your filter is important. However, there are many other options for improving the air inside your home. There are a variety of Indoor air cleaning services that can work with your home’s existing system to clean your air.

Maximum Heating & Air Conditioning provides Indoor Air Quality services including:

Call us today at 630-788-4688 to learn more, or you can send us your questions or a request for service by contacting us online.

3.	Indoor air quality services from Maximum in the Aurora, IL area