It might sound like a name for your old uncle who’s always the life of the party, but MERV actually refers to an efficiency rating for furnace filters. It stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it’s designed to inform consumers about which environmental pollutants MERV-rated filters can trap. In general, the ratings range from 1 to 16, and are meant for capturing varying levels of common particles like the following:
- Dust mites
- Textile and carpet fibers
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
- Tobacco smoke
MERV 8 filters will collect particles as small as three microns, perfectly suitable for any residential application. The average home will benefit just fine from a MERV 8. Many people mistakenly think that they should go with the MERV 13, for example, because it's a higher number so it must be better. Not always so. The 13s can collect particles as small as .3 microns, but these are usually only needed in super clean environments, such as medical facilities. Considered overkill for simple residential use, you’re actually paying more for something you won’t really see the benefit in. You’ll get plenty of efficiency out of a simple MERV 8 AND spend less on them. In fact, anything rated MERV 7 to 12 is sufficient to filter airborne contaminants for most residential systems. The 13-16 filters are for hospitals and clean rooms.
The bottom line is, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller the pores are for air to flow through, causing more resistance in airflow than your system may be designed to manage. This can lead to inefficiency. When the air flow is reduced, the air quality in your home can suffer, not to mention damage the fan of your furnace.
That doesn’t mean you can leave a MERV 8 filter in for months and months without changing. It just means you should use the 8 and change them more often. If you go with a higher number MERV that is more expensive, you won’t be as likely to change them as needed. Go cheaper with the 8s and you’ll have no problem changing them as recommended. Just adjust your changing schedule according to your lifestyle. If you have pets that shed, or live near a congested roadway, change them a month sooner than you normally would. Take a look at the filter when you change it. You’ll get a good idea of when it needs changing after awhile just by looking at the accumulation.
We sell MERV 8 filters here at Filtration Montreal, in a variety of sizes and brands, such as a signature Camfil 30/30. Give us a call to get the best money-saving value on 100+ furnace filters with FREE shipping! Or, ask us questions about which filter is best for you. We would be happy to chat.