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MERV Ratings: Are Highly-Rated HVAC Filters Always Better?

HVAC filter maintenance aids in keeping your heating and cooling system running efficiently. A clean filter can also prevent the added strain a dirty filter puts on your system as it works harder to circulate air through it, which in turn helps prevent expensive repairs.

MERV Ratings: Are Highly-Rated HVAC Filters Always Better?

In this post, one of your most trusted HVAC contractors, WM Buffington Company Inc., discusses what Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings mean in filters.

MERV Ratings

MERV ratings determine how effective HVAC filters are at removing airborne particles. Filters are rated with 1 being the lowest and 20 being the highest.

Low-grade HVAC filters such as spun-fiberglass or washable filters have a MERV rating between 1 and 4. These filters are effective at trapping pet hair, carpet fibers and other debris, but they don’t help in improving indoor air quality. Filters with MERV ratings between 5 and 8 have improved filtration and can trap particulates between 3 and 10 microns or bigger, like mold spores, pet dander and pollen.

You can expect superior filtration from filters with MERV ratings between 9 and 12. They can trap lead dust, Legionella and auto emissions. Filters that carry ratings between 13 and 20 can trap tobacco smoke, bacteria and 0.30 pm particles. Whether you need help with a new heating system installation or HVAC maintenance, you can count on WM Buffington Company Our team will make sure that your HVAC system is running safely and efficiently.

Picking the Right MERV Rating

Take note of the recommended MERV rating for your system when choosing an HVAC filter replacement. While highly-rated filters offer exceptional air filtration, they can have a negative effect on system airflow because of their density. This can lead to leakage in the return ducts, plenums and cabinets. A high-grade filter can also increase energy use, wear and tear and the possibility of coil freezing.

Contact your local HVAC expert if you’re not sure of the maximum MERV rating for your HVAC system. At WM Buffington Company Inc., we're your leading provider of HVAC installation services. Call us at (717) 609-4020 or complete our online form to schedule an appointment. We serve homeowners in Harrisburg, PA, and nearby areas.

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