Why Using the Right MERV Ratings on HVAC Filters Matters to Your West Chester Home

by Greg Leisgang on December 3, 2013

Posted in: Indoor Air Quality

Forced-air heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems include an air filter to protect system components from airborne particles and improve the air quality of the spaces they serve. There are a range of air filters available that differ in how efficiently they filter out particles from the air. The efficiency of different air filters can be compared by looking at their minimum efficiency reporting values (MERV).

MERV ratings are determined through laboratory testing that measures what percentage of airborne particles an air filter removes as air passes through it. Air filters with higher MERV ratings remove a wider range of particles, particularly extremely small ones. MERV ratings generally range from 1 to 16, with ratings of 17 to 20 used to describe the performance of a special type of air filter known as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

When selecting an air filter for your West Chester home, don't simply pick the one with the highest rating. More efficient air filters have a number of drawbacks that can outweigh the benefits, with the biggest issue being reduced airflow due to the dense nature of the highly efficient filter. A filter that has too much resistance to airflow will cause your air handler to work harder and may make it impossible for it to maintain sufficient airflow rates for efficient heating and cooling operation.

Filters with a MERV as low as 7 can provide sufficient filtration to maintain adequate air quality levels in many homes, but if you think your home could benefit from improved air quality, you may want to contact an HVAC professional to determine what efficiency of air filter your system can handle. Most residential systems will be able to handle something in the range of 9 to 12 MERV.

If want further information on HVAC air filters or other strategies to improve your indoor air quality, contact the experienced professionals at Tri-County Heating and Cooling. Our NATE-certified technicians provide superior service to homeowners in West Chester, Monroe, Glendale and surrounding areas.

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