One question our Air Conditioning Experts, Inc., technicians receive when working with customers on air purifiers for their Atlanta homes is: will this be enough to clean my air? The answer to this question depends in large part on what contaminants you are looking to remove from your air. Some people are just looking for better air quality while others have specific needs, such as removing common allergens. One of the best ways to assess how well an air filter or purifier will work is to review its MERV number, and we’ll explain more about this below.
What MERV Is and Means
MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it is a standard established in the 1940s when scientists were working on The Manhattan Project. It was important to know that radioactive material was being filtered out for safety, so MERV and HEPA filters were born. MERV’s scale runs from 1 to 20; the higher the MERV number, the stronger the filtering ability. To give a general idea of what different ranges can do, here is a brief overview of MERV rating capabilities:
- 1-4 – the standard air filter that comes with your HVAC system has this MERV number; this number is the lowest, so only large particles, usually over 10 microns, are typically caught in a filter with this MERV level. Bottom line: you’ll want to go higher for better indoor air quality and to help allergy sufferers.
- 5-8 – this MERV level can improve indoor air quality pretty well, and capture some common allergens like pollen. But for allergy sufferers, it’s really better to go to the next level.
- 9-12 – at this MERV level, some very fine particles can be captured, including allergens, certain spore types, and bigger virus and bacteria organisms.
- 13+ – MERV ratings starting at 13 can seriously restrict air flow in your system as this level MERV and higher equal HEPA-grade. Should you want to install a filter with this level of MERV, you’ll need to first consult with an expert to make sure it doesn’t cut the air flow in your system.
Determining which type of filter will work best for those in your home can be challenging, so consult with the indoor air quality specialists you can trust: Air Conditioning Experts, Inc.