The heating and air conditioning industry has a lot of acronyms and confusing terms.

One of those is MERV.

Many Atlanta-area homeowners are unaware that MERV even exists until they go shopping for a new air filter for their air conditioning and heating system. But it is an important term.

Here's what MERV means and why you should care.

What is MERV?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. But that part's not really what is important.

MERV is expressed as a number on a scale of 1 to 16.

It measures the efficiency of an air filter to remove airborne pollutants as they pass through the filter. The higher the MERV rating, the more contaminants it can remove from your air and the more it will improve your home's indoor air quality.

Why you should care about MERV

Most homes' indoor air quality is 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air. Some are even 100 times more polluted, according to the EPA.

One of the ways you can improve your home's indoor air quality is through better air filtration. And that's where MERV comes in.

Although we've already said the higher the MERV, the more efficient the air filter is at removing indoor air pollutants, here is some additional information about what the numbers mean.

  • MERV 1-4 - These filters do not significantly improve indoor air quality because they only remove large airborne contaminants. Most dangerous pollutants are very small.
  • MERV 5-11 - Filters in this range are the recommended level of filtration for most homes. We recommend filters with at least MERV 8 for indoor air quality improvement and no higher than MERV 11.
  • MERV 12-16 - These filters are used in clean rooms and hospitals and other places air quality is extremely important. At this level of air filtration, it's best to get an air purifier that won't restrict airflow and reduce your system's efficiency.

Need help selecting an air filter?

Even though you are now armed with the meaning of MERV, air filter selection can be difficult. Pleated, panel, electrostatic - there are a lot of options.

If you need further help choosing the right one for your home and situation, give us a call. One of our friendly experts would be happy to help.

Ragsdale Heating, Air & Plumbing serves the metro Atlanta area.

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