Typical human beings see a higher number and instantly think “it must be better”. For example, a restaurant with a higher Google rating, a higher number in our bank account, a 5-star hotel over a 2-star hotel, or a little kid who sees 50 presents vs. 5 on Christmas morning. We are trained to think more is better and less is inferior. 

Sometimes though, just because something has a higher number or there is more of something, does not necessarily mean it is “better”. Much like the scale in your bathroom, the higher MERV rating on an air filter does not always mean it is better. 

What does MERV mean? 

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is used to help determine the effectiveness of an HVAC air filter. Values for a filter can range from 1 to 16. The higher the number, the more effective the filter is at catching airborne particles as the air passes through your HVAC system. 

So the higher the MERV rating, the better the air filter because it is more effective?

Not necessarily. The purpose of an air filter is to prevent bacteria, dander, pollen, and other pollutants to your home’s air from being circulated. However, the higher the MERV rating, the more restricting the filter may be at circulating air within your home and this is a bad thing. Essentially, the less air circulating in your home results in poor overall air quality. 

Filters with higher MERV ratings may not be compatible with your HVAC system and force it to work inefficiently. As your system is forced to work harder to circulate the air within your home, you may see higher energy bills. This can also cause long-term damaging effects that can require costly repairs. Be sure to examine your system for the properly sized filter for your system.

Choosing a filter for your system

The best filter for you will be based on the needs of the occupants inside your home and the standards of your HVAC system. MERV ratings are typically broken down into 4 categories:

  • MERV 1-4 – These filters will remove large particles that could be harmful to your HVAC system, but they do little to nothing to improve that air quality inside your home. 
  • MERV 5-8 – Typically used in both residential and commercial HVAC systems, these filters can block most harmful pollutants & contaminants to your home. They range between 1-2 inch in thickness and last longer than 1-4 MERV filters. 
    • Filters with a MERV 8 is the most standard in Arizona and the best for standard homeowners. 
  • MERV 9-12 – Used mostly in homes with advanced HVAC systems, these filters offer the best air quality for your home. Typically a deep pleated filter that should be examined regularly to function efficiently. 
  • MERV 13-16 – Most frequently used in hospitals and clean rooms, a homeowner will likely not buy these types of filters because they restrict airflow and can damage your system.

Install A New Filter Today

Remember to always look at your HVAC system to see what filter MERV is best before purchasing a filter. Also, be sure to examine the filter frequently, especially during times of high use, for maximum effectiveness. 

2C’s Cooling & Heating offers quality HVAC services to the entire East Valley. We can help you exchange your filter or assess your home and air quality needs to find a system that best fits you. Contact our team today to schedule your FREE in-home estimate for a new system at 602-881-5378.

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About 2C’s Cooling & Heating

2C’s Cooling & Heating proudly serves the East Valley, Arizona with high quality HVAC services. We are here to serve you and all of your cooling and heating needs. Our team is prepared to tackle whatever cooling project you have.