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Understanding Air Filter MERV Ratings

There are few items in your home that are as important to your family’s health as your air filters. Many homeowners simply head to the store and pick up the cheapest filter they can find, but that can have a major impact on their indoor air quality and monthly energy bills. Here is a closer look at how air filters are rated (MERV Ratings) and some steps you can take to find the best products for your own home.

What Are MERV Ratings?

Higher MERV ratings don't mean the air filter is automatically better.

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the national standard that rates all residential and commercial air filters. This standard runs on a scale between 1 and 20, but most air filters that can be found at the store will have a rating between 1 and 16. Filters that have a rating higher than 16 are generally found in potentially toxic environments such as factories.

Higher MERV ratings don’t mean the air filter is automatically better. To the contrary, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the pores are for air to flow through an airĀ filter. This can actually cause more resistance in airflow, making it less efficient. When you reduce air flow, you worsen the air quality in your home.

What Air Filter Do I need?

Any air filter that is rated lower than 5 will remove very little from the air. These products are designed to protect the HVAC system more than anything else and often have to be replaced at least once a month. Most homeowners will want to use a high-quality filter with a rating between 8 and 13. These particular products will remove around 99% of the airborne toxins that can be found in a home.

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HEPA Filters

For those who struggle with severe allergies or other respiratory issues, upgrading to HEPA filters might be an excellent idea. Many HEPA air filters are actually standalone units that can be placed in the rooms where they are needed the most. This technology works by forcing air into a fine mesh filters that trap pollen, dander, dust, and mold spores. HEPA filters can also be used within your existing air conditioning system.

To learn more about MERV ratings or to schedule an air conditioning or heat pump tune up now, call Brown & Reaves Services atĀ 843-497-9867, or fill out our short form and someone will contact you as quickly as possible.

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