What Air Filter Rating Should I Choose?

When it comes to selecting the right air filter for your home, it's important to understand the different ratings and how they can affect your indoor air quality. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHARE) recommends a MERV 6 or higher for most residential areas. Most people opt for a MERV 8 filter, which can remove contaminants from MERV 8 to MERV 13.Hospitals usually use MERV 14 to MERV 20. This range offers a good balance between air filtration, airflow and affordability.

A MERV 13 air filter can last up to six months before needing to be replaced. When selecting an air filter, it is important to make sure your air conditioning system is compatible. Some systems cannot withstand a high rating, which could interrupt air movement. MERV 8 is known to be effective at filtering pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, sawdust, mold spores, and lint from the air.

A higher MERV rating will further clean the air. Fiberglass filters have a low pressure drop because they are extremely porous and not effective for filtering. To further improve indoor air quality, home air purifiers that employ HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters can theoretically remove 99.97 percent of mold, pollen, bacteria, and other particles as small as 0.3 microns. If your home's HVAC system is unable to handle the MERV 13, opt for a filter with the next highest possible rating.

As the rating increases, the air filter has a greater chance of capturing even the smallest particles. The main difference between MERV and FPR (Filter Performance Rating) is that FPR stands for Filter Performance Rating, which Home Depot developed based on its tests. The final count compared to the total amount of particles is then converted to a percentage that represents the number of particles that were successfully filtered from the air. Some of the most common particles that oven filters are tested for include pollen, dust mites, textile and carpet fibers, mold spores, dust, pet dander, bacteria, and tobacco smoke.

Once you understand how the MERV leaderboard works, you'll be able to choose the right MERV-rated air filters for your home. It's important to consider your HVAC system's compatibility when selecting an air filter rating as well as the type of pollutants you want to remove from your indoor air quality. A MERV 8 filter is known to be effective at filtering out common pollutants such as pollen and dust mites while a MERV 13 filter can capture even smaller particles such as mold spores and lint. If your HVAC system cannot handle a high rating, opt for a filter with the next highest possible rating.

Ashleigh Yballe
Ashleigh Yballe

Amateur internet ninja. Hipster-friendly tv fanatic. General pop culture buff. Subtly charming beer buff. Wannabe burrito evangelist. Award-winning internet practitioner.