AC Filters: What Are MERV Numbers and What do They Mean?

Published on: June 22, 2012

The safety of your family is of the utmost importance, and you would never knowingly place them at risk. However, your home may contain unseen contaminants that you may not know about. When your indoor air quality is full of toxins, the health of you and your family may suffer from allergies or asthma.


MERV Rates
The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, which is also known as MERV, rates are determined by how well your AC filter removes particles from the air in your home. The rating on household filters ranges from 1 to 16. When you buy a filter with a higher rating, the result is a more efficient system overall.

If you purchase a filter with a MERV rating of one, then the dust spot efficiency within your home will be lower than 20 percent. On the other hand, a filter with a rating of 16 will provide you with dust spot efficiency at over 95 percent.

When you select a higher rated filter, you’ll have a mechanism that will remove a large amount of your home’s particles along with smaller elements that may not be caught by a lower rated filter. As a result, you will greatly improve your home’s indoor air quality. When you contact us for air conditioning service, we can give you more information about selecting a filter with a MERV rating.


The Best Filter for Your Home
When you select an AC filter, you should purchase one that’s rated somewhere between 7 and 13. These filters are fairly effective at eliminating pollutants from your home and improving your indoor air quality. If you need to contact us for an air conditioning service call, then we can offer you our expertise regarding MERV rated filters. The air in your home is healthier for you and your family to breathe when it contains fewer particles.


Air Filter Testing
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers began testing air filters to determine each device’s effectiveness at preventing particles from entering the air in your home. The department found that filters remove air particles at rates ranging from 30 percent, to 65 percent, and up to 90 percent or higher.

The division also discovered that certain MERV ratings will eliminate specific particles. If you or a family member is sensitive to a particular allergen, then you can purchase a filter that will remove it from your home, which will make your indoor air quality that much better. When you contact our air conditioning service department, our experts can direct you toward the best AC filter for your family.


MERV Measurements

When you purchase an AC filter with a MERV rating between 1 and 4, your device will remove less than 20 percent of your home’s particles. With a device rated at 6, you can expect an elimination of 49.9 percent while a rating of 8 will give you particle removals of 84.9 percent.

If you buy an AC filter with a 10 MERV rating, then your mechanism will remove at least 85 percent of the air particles in your home along with smaller atoms at 64.9 percent. With a 12 rated AC filter, you’ll have a device that is capable of removing 90 percent or more of the particles in your home. A 12 MERV rated mechanism will also catch smaller particles at a rate of up to 89.9 percent.

After you purchase an AC filter with a 14 rating, then you can expect it to eliminate particles at 90 percent or better. It will also take care of even smaller particles than a 12 MERV rated device. The highest MERV rated AC filter you can buy is a 16, which will catch particles at 90 percent or greater. When you contact our air conditioning service team, our professionals will make sure you have an AC filter with the MERV rating you need.


Micron Sizes
Your AC filter will capture particles that are measured in micron sizes from 0.3 to 10. Keep in mind that a piece of your hair is 20 to 40 microns in size. An AC filter rated from 1 to 8 will capture particles that are sized from 3 to 10 while the 10 and 12 MERV rated filters will prevent micron particles sized from 1.0 to 3.0. When you purchase filters with MERV ratings that are 14 or 16, you’ll be stopping micron particles that are sized from 0.3 to 1.0.

MERV rated particles include pet dander, dust, viruses and insecticide dust along with spores, bacteria and pollen. Consider the fact that commercial businesses typically use filters rated from 5 to 8, which will gather particles that are as small as three microns.


When your home’s indoor air quality is a concern, our air conditioning service team has the expertise to ensure your AC filter is safeguarding your home.