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MERV: What It Stands for and Why It’s Important

Indoor air quality is a big part of your comfort, but it’s also a big part of your overall health. The average time a person spends inside his/her house is over 85%, and, if that air isn’t healthy, neither are you. One way to help improve your indoor air is to add an air filtration system from Atlantic Refrigeration to your Berlin, MD property. However, there are a variety of filtration systems from which to choose, and each has its own capability for capturing particles. The best way to understand how effective a given filtration system will be is to look at its MERV rating.

What Does MERV Stand For?

MERV is an acronym for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it is a scale designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) that rates the effectiveness of an air filter.

What Is the MERV Scale?

The scale runs from 1 to 20, with 1 being the least effective and 20 being the most effective. Residential filters typically land in the 5-12 range. Different particles are captured at different ratings:

  • 1-4: pollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, carpet fibers
  • 5-8: mold, spores, cat and dog dander, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids
  • 9-12: legionella, humidifier dust, lead dust, auto emission particulates, nebulizer droplets
  • 13-16: bacteria, droplet nuclei (from sneezing), cooking oil, most smoke and insecticide dust, most paint pigments
  • 17-20: virus, carbon dust, sea salt, smoke

Why Is MERV Important?

MERV is important in understanding the capability of a given filter. For example, if you have allergy sufferers and want to reduce the amount of allergens in your home, the MERV rating you’d need would be at least a 5. One item to note about MERV: if you are looking to install a filter with a MERV over 12, consult with a professional first. Filters with very high MERV ratings can restrict air flow, which is not good for your air conditioning system.

If you are concerned about your indoor air quality and are interested in possibly installing an air filtration system to your Berlin, MD air conditioner, make sure you work with experts to ensure you purchase a system that fits with your needs. Call Atlantic Refrigeration today and schedule an appointment.

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