Generally speaking, most people take their HVAC system for granted. It is just one more thing to think about in the ever-stressful world of home ownership. Even people who pay attention and provide preventative maintenance on a regular basis could be doing more harm than good if not careful. Depending on what type of HVAC system you have, the filter may need to be replaced monthly, or every few months. One key item to note when purchasing filters is the MERV rating (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value). The MERV rating tells how effectively the filter takes the dirt, dust, allergens, and other things out of the air as it passes through the HVAC system.
When replacing a filter in your home, taking notice of the MERV rating is important to make sure the correct amount of air flow is coming through the filter. Without enough airflow, the HVAC system can overheat and cause electrical or mechanical breakdowns and burnouts later on down the road.
To avoid mechanical failure and an expensive service call down the line, be sure to check your HVAC system manual for the correct filter size and MERV rating. This will give you the correct amount of airflow and make your system run as optimally as possible. Changing the filters on a regular basis is also important. Having proper air flow is the most important part of maintaining your HVAC system. If a filter is clogged it can have the same impact as having a filter that is too thick for your system.
Filters with a higher MERV rating are typically thicker and catch more particles. The caveat to that is they also require more force to push air through them. This is the reason filters have to be correctly sized for your specific HVAC system. Without proper air flow, the HVAC unit will overheat over time. This is what causes the costly repairs in the future.
If you are aware of which filter you need, and how often you should replace it, you are ahead of most people. Just make sure you are diligent with your preventative maintenance and that will help prevent service calls.
The MERV ratings on filters range from 1-20 and it will say on the side of the filter what the rating is.
MERV RATING: 1-4
These are the lowest rated filters. They are primarily for residential use. They catch the bigger things floating through your HVAC system. These items include; dust, pollen, carpet fibers, pet hair, and other things of that nature.
MERV RATING: 5-8
The next step up in MERV ratings helps remove some of the smaller irritants that are cycled through your heating and cooling system. As the MERV rating increases, the smaller the particle the filters will catch.
MERV RATING: 9-12
These filters are typically used in businesses. They are capable of catching much finer particles than the previous filters. They can even catch some of the larger bacterial cells, emissions, and some fine dust particles.
MERV RATING: 13-16
High-end filters like these are used in hospitals, or in situations where high amounts of allergens are present. These collect a very high amount of bacteria, smoke, sickness germs released from the body, and numerous other things.
MERV RATING: 17-20
This is the top-of-the-line for filters. In residential uses, and most commercial uses, it provides too much filtration and not enough air flow. These filters are used for quarantined locations and other highly sensitive areas. They are capable of catching viruses, all smoke particles, and everything else that runs through the HVAC system.
Knowing what each of these different types of filters is used for is important for being an informed homeowner. In the case of filters, the bigger MERV rating isn’t always better. If you are trying to do any type of preventative maintenance you want to make sure the correct part is put in. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at (866) 215-3831 or visit us at www.hvacpartsshop.com and we can help talk you through any issues you are having.