What is a MERV 8 Rating?
I know you’ve heard of MERV ratings before. Maybe your last HVAC technician told you that you should start using MERV 8 filters? Maybe you’ve heard that MERV 13 air filters were best for people with severe allergies? Or maybe you were actually shopping for your size air filter at your local hardware store and got confused when you saw different MERV ratings on the filters?
Whatever the case is, I am here to help clear up any confusion when it comes to all the different MERV ratings.
And who am I? I am probably the HVAC technician that told you to stop using those cheap fiberglass air filters. I started in the HVAC trade back in 1999. Fresh out of high school, I learned at a young age how important it is to take care of the most expensive appliance in your house, your HVAC system.
It wasn’t until about 10 years ago when I was about to have my first child that I learned how important Indoor Air Quality is for your health. I really vested a lot of my time learning all about MERV ratings.
MERV or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value is a standard of rating how much air filters can catch and trap fine micro-particles from the air. The scale that this system is based on starts at MERV 1 and ends at MERV 20.
The air filters that are designed for home use are usually MERV 1 through MERV 13. Anything above that is really too much for most home HVAC systems. As you progress up the MERV scale you get more restrictive to air flow as well. So MERV 13 would be the highest we would recommend outside of Doctors offices and rooms designed for Surgeries.
The most recommended MERV ratings for a healthy home are MERV 8 through MERV 13.
The MERV 8 Difference
When you upgrade from a cheap fiberglass air filter to a MERV 8 filter you add a lot more protection. At MERV 8 you are now catching and trapping the dangerous allergens that cause most allergy sufferers’ flare ups.
Dust mites are the real reason most people are allergic to dust. More specifically the enzyme in dust mite poop is what triggers your severe dust allergies. So keep that in mind the next time you decide a fiberglass filters price should determine whether you inhale bug poop. Because at MERV 4 the best you can remove from the air you breathe is large dust bunnies and dryer lint.
Click here to rad more about MERV 8 air filters.
MERV 11 Air Filters
MERV 11 is the next step up from MERV 8 filters. We recommend this MERV rating for people with pets, children or people just looking for better Indoor Air Quality.
Air filters rated at MERV 11 do a great job of capturing more severe allergens like mold spores, lung damaging dust, most pollen, most bacteria, auto emission particles, and more. In fact, our MERV 11 air filters are up to 30 times more effective at removing harmful allergens from the air as MERV 4 air filters. Click here to learn more about MERV 11 air filters.
MERV 13 Rating
When you demand the best filtration from your HVAC system, MERV 13 is the go-to. While maintaining the same air flow as MERV 11 rated air filters MERV 13 captures the most micro-particles. In addition to the fine particles that MERV 11 air filters can catch MERV 13 rated filters can trap pollutants from construction materials, smoke particles and VOC’s.
MERV 13 air filters also help new buildings achieve LEED certification which you can learn more about here.
How Often Should I Change My Air Filter
With 20 plus years experience in the HVAC business I can tell you what I’ve told all of my customers. Check your filter monthly and change it as necessary.
Most air filters say “lasts up to 90 days”. This is really a marketing ploy than anything else.
Almost all manufacturers recommend checking or changing your air filter monthly. I agree with checking and replacing if necessary. If it’s dirty then go ahead and replace it. If its not very dirty because its a “shoulder season” and your HVAC system hasn’t been running a lot lately then let it go another 30 days. But the most important thing to remember is to check it every 30 days. I always told my customers when you pay your rent or mortgage, go check your air filter.
Not changing your air filter before it gets so dirty that it starts restricting air flow is one of the worst things you can do to your HVAC system. I have seen thousands of air conditioner systems and furnaces fail prematurely due to someone forgetting to change the air filter. It is almost as important to protect your HVAC system as it is to protect your lungs.
If you would like to shop the best air filters online and get more tips on how to clean your air and keep you HVAC system running smooth click here.