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Buying an HVAC Filter? Be Sure to Check the MERV Rating

Buying an HVAC Filter? Be Sure to Check the MERV Rating

Regularly changing your air filters is an important HVAC maintenance task. Dirty, clogged air filters compromise your heating and cooling system’s performance, resulting in lower comfort and higher energy bills.

Replace your filter at least once every three months, but give the MERV rating careful consideration.

What’s the MERV Rating?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. A filter's MERV rating indicates its performance at trapping dust and other pollutants. The higher a filter's MERV value, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through. Filters with higher MERV ratings can trap smaller particles.

Most residential air filters have a MERV rating from 7 to 12, while MERV ratings from 13 to 16 are usually found in hospitals and medical offices.

Higher Is Not Always Better

You might assume that the filter with the highest MERV rating is best for your home, but this is not necessarily the case. Filters with lower MERV ratings allow more air to pass through the filter. If your filter's MERV rating is too high, the reduction in airflow may strain your HVAC equipment to the point of damaging it. Generally, anything over 12 is overkill for the average residential HVAC system. Do your research and find out the best MERV value for your cooling system. Consult your owner's manual or ask a heating and air technician for help.

Bottom line: The right air filter with the right MERV rating makes a big impact on your indoor air quality, HVAC performance and budget. Replacing it regularly can also trim your monthly heating and cooling costs by as much as 15%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Contact Superior Air Repair at (979) 472-3267 for further assistance with your heating and cooling system.

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