What You Need to Know About MERV Ratings

Whether it’s at home or your commercial workplace, every room you step into can benefit from an appropriate air filter. It’s a crucial component in maintaining pristine indoor air quality and maintaining the health of its inhabitants.

However, every air filter also needs to be replaced after long-term use. When shopping for a new air filter, knowing about MERV ratings can help you make more informed decisions on your next purchase. Here’s what you need to know!

The Importance of MERV Ratings

Knowing the importance and the purpose of MERV ratings can help guide you in the right direction when choosing the right air filter for your home or business.

MERV, short for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, ratings represent how well a filter can separate harmful contaminants and irritants from the air. It’s a system developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the leaders in governing the HVAC industry.

With this system, air filters have now become tiered and are made for specific environments. When shopping for an air filter, having knowledge of MERV ratings can help you make the most informed decision for your place of choice.

Deciding Which Air Filter to Get

Before discussing MERV ratings, the first thing to take into consideration is the environment you’re planning to put the air filter in. Are you putting it in your home? Is it for your workplace?

With this information, you can then decide what MERV-rated air filter to get. MERV ratings range between 1 to 20 — with 1 representing the least amount of filtration and 20 the most. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filters with MERV ratings from 1 to 4 filter out less than 20% of harmful particles (sized between 3.0 to 10.0 microns), whereas filters rated 16 filter out 75% (eradicating particles as small as 0.3 to 1.0 microns).

Filter King notes that homes should aim for filters that have a MERV rating of 8 to 13. These will promote airflow and will trap general contaminants. However, it can lead to dust and dirt buildup in your HVAC system over time, so you may want to consider keeping an eye on your ductwork’s health. 

Commercial buildings should aim for a MERV rating of 14 to 20. With filters this high, it captures more contaminants and irritants, but may cause more restricted airflow — leading to increased discomfort amongst employees. 

Signs of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Optimal indoor air quality is a crucial component in maintaining a healthy and safe home or workplace. On top of the MERV ratings and what filter you get, you’ll also want to be mindful about your health alongside the health of your family members and coworkers.

Take notice of respiratory symptoms in yourself and others around you, including sneezing, sniffling, and coughing. These signs may illustrate poor indoor air quality in the environment you’re in. Furthermore, it can be indicative of your HVAC system either being dirty, or your air filter being dirty and in need of repair/replacement.

As air filters age, their effectiveness decreases — leading to a larger buildup of dust, dirt, bacteria, mold, mildew, and other airborne contaminants. Inhaling dangerous irritants can lead to health issues including strep throat and pneumonia.

If you notice signs of such, take a look at your air filter and HVAC system to remediate the source of the problem.

Xtraire’s Commitment to Optimal Indoor Air Quality

Our trained professionals here at Xtraire are fully dedicated to providing your household and your commercial space with optimal indoor air quality. With our understanding of MERV ratings and which air filters are appropriate for your selected space, Xtraire can help provide you with the air quality you deserve.

To learn more, visit our website and contact us today!