The air in your home is full of microscopic organisms, pollen, mold, pet dander and dust. There are a few ways you can reduce the number of these irritating allergens in your home, and one of the most effective is to install filters with high MERV ratings. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. These values quantify how well a filter can remove particles from the air, and the larger the number, the more effective the filter is at removing the smallest of particles from the air circulating around your home.
An important reason to understand MERV ratings is that manufacturers tend to make vague written claims on filter labels, most of which often end up being a lot of smoke and mirrors. However, MERV figures are federally regulated, so you can trust them to accurately depict a specific filter’s efficiency.
Good residential-use filters start around MERV 8 to 10, meaning they are capable of capturing particles from hairspray, mold spores, dust mites, carpet fibers and pollen. For superior residential applications, look for filters with a MERV rating of 10 to 16. These filters rid the air of everything from common dust particulates to even flu viruses and everything in between. As a general perspective, the smallest particle that can be seen by the human eye is equal to 10 microns. A filter with a MERV rating of 16 can remove 95 percent of particles as small as .3 microns in diameter from the air flowing through the filter. A square foot of the Healthy Climate Merv 16 filter has a filter coverage of 79 square feet of coverage. That’s a lot of coverage!
Filters rated MERV 16 and greater can remove 95 percent of particles at 0.3 microns in diameter from the air, but these filters are actually suboptimal for residential applications, simply because most home HVAC systems aren’t designed to handle that high a level of air filtration. Instead, filters with such high MERV ratings are used in clean rooms, smoking lounges, hospital applications, and areas where radioactive material is being used.
With minimal duct changes, High-efficiency air filters can be easily fitted for your central heating and air-conditioning system, replacing cheap 1-inch fiberglass filters that simply can’t compete with a 5- to 6-inch filter in the range of MERV 10 to 16. If you are living in a home where you’re continually fighting allergies and asthma attacks, a high-efficiency filter could be just what the doctor ordered. For more information about reducing your home’s indoor air pollution, and to get your hands on a highly efficient filter, contact Overland Park Heating & Cooling, Inc.in Kansas City.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about MERV and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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