What MERV Rating Should I Use?

The quality of air inside the commercial and industrial spaces is described as concentrations of pollutants/ contaminants and thermal conditions that may negatively affect the health, comfort, and performance of a building’s occupants. The reason why building occupants frequently suffer from illness is the pollution levels in this indoor air can be up to 5 times higher than outdoor levels, and people spend more than 90% of their time indoors!

Indoor air quality challenges can be resolved by maintaining proper ventilation and installing suitable air filters. Considering these aspects, the company’s facility management teams should have a clear understanding of the types of filters in the market and choose the most efficient air filters.

But how to find out the efficacy of air filters?

When it comes to selecting air filters for your HVAC system, one of the most important factors to consider is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with higher ratings indicating a more effective filter at trapping airborne particles. But with so many options available, how do you know what MERV rating is right for your needs?

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a MERV rating:

Indoor air quality needs: The first factor to consider is the indoor air quality needs of your space. If you or anyone in your household suffers from allergies or respiratory issues, a higher MERV rating may be necessary to effectively capture allergens, dust, and other contaminants. On the other hand, if you are primarily concerned with controlling larger particles such as pet hair or dust, a lower MERV rating may be sufficient.

HVAC system compatibility: It is also important to consider the compatibility of your HVAC system with different MERV ratings. Some systems are not designed to handle high-efficiency filters and may experience reduced airflow or other issues if a filter with a MERV rating that is too high is used. Check your HVAC system manual or consult with a professional to determine what MERV rating is appropriate for your system.

Filter replacement frequency: Higher MERV rated filters may need to be replaced more frequently than lower rated filters, as they can become clogged more quickly with trapped particles. Consider the cost and convenience of replacing filters when selecting a MERV rating.

Air filters consist of media with porous structures of fibers or stretched membrane material to remove particles from airstreams. The fraction of particles removed from the air passing through a filter is termed as “filter efficiency” and which is provided as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) derived from ASHRAE 52.2 test standard for air filter efficiency.

        – MERV ranges from 1 to 16 (higher MERV value = higher air filters efficiency)

        – MERV ≥13 filters are efficient at capturing airborne viruses

The higher the MERV rating the better the filter is at trapping specific types of particles.

MERV Rating:

MERV 1-4: MERV 1-4 air filters are typically disposable panel filters and pads and are used primarily to protect equipment from particles more than 10 microns in size.

MERV 5-8: These air filters are a better choice and are more commonly found in commercial applications. They are capable of effectively collecting particles as small as 10 microns.

MERV 9-12: This range of air filters can collect particles in the 3-5 micron range.

MERV 13-16: MERV 13-16 are highly efficient air filters and can collect particles as small as 1 micron These filters are typically used in healthcare facilities, pharmaceuticals, microelectronics, data centers where higher levels of cleanliness are required.

Contact our AAF representative to find out right air filters for your needs.