Understanding MERV Ratings
Air filters are an essential part of maintaining the air quality in your home. If you look closely at your filter, you'll notice it has a MERV rating. Here's what you should know about these MERV ratings and how they can affect the air quality in your home.
What Does the MERV Rating Mean?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. A filter with a better MERV means that your filter can filter out finer (smaller) particles. The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 20, with higher numbers meaning both that it can catch these finer particles and that it catches more particles in general.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself "that's a pretty wide range," and you'd be right. That's because there's an equally wide range of uses for air filters. What's right for a hospital won’t work out as well for a home. So, what MERV rating should you be aiming for as a homeowner?
What MERV Rating Does Your Home Need?
For most home use, you should aim for a rating of anywhere between 8 and 13. A filter with a lower rating will miss out on microscopic particles. Higher isn't necessarily better, either. Filters with higher MERV ratings tend to become clogged with dust and dander particles more easily. They also reduce air flow, which can lead to several problems including discomfort and higher energy usage.
How Often To Change Air Filters
Typically, filters with higher MERV ratings should be changed more often. That's because they are more effective at trapping small particles and, as such, get dirty faster. If you're using an air filter appropriate for a home, you should plan on changing it out every 2 to 3 months. If you need to go with a higher rating than that for whatever reason, plan on changing it even more often.
Using an IAQ Product to Boost Air Quality
Often, an air filter alone isn't enough to improve your home's air quality. Even if it does have a high MERV rating. There are a few products out there aimed at improving your IAQ (indoor air quality) beyond what's possible with a normal air filter.
- PHI Air Purification - Air purifiers using photohyroionization (PHI) technology produce "good oxidizers" that seek out and bond with most of the common air pollutants, rendering them inert. After this happens, the good oxidizers convert back to harmless hydrogen or oxygen.
- UV Treatment - UV air treatment relies on ultraviolet light in order to bond to the DNA of harmful microbes and neutralize them. This can target mold and mildew as well, keeping your home clean and your HVAC running at full efficiency.
Both options will help improve the quality of your air while taking some of the load off your HVAC, resulting in a longer lifespan and less spent on repairs down the road.
The experts at David Gray Heating & Air can help you find the right air quality products to meet your needs. Contact us today to get started.