Before air enters the heating and cooling portion of your HVAC system in Oak Harbor, WA, it passes through an air filter. Some people think that the only difference between air filters is their size. Choose the correct size, they think, and there’s nothing left to consider.

However, there is a wide range of filters that differ based on their MERV rating, giving you far more to choose from than just the size of the filter. By reading through this guide from Island Heating & Air Conditioning on MERV ratings, you’ll be better able to understand how to use this measurement to keep your home healthy and comfortable.

What Is a MERV Rating?

Every air filter is assigned a MERV rating. The acronym MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. While this sounds complicated, you can think of it simply as a measure of how much particulate matter a filter can capture in its fibers.

Filters that are tightly woven and can catch a wide variety of particles have a higher MERV rating, while filters that are less dense have a lower MERV rating. You can find the MERV rating on any filter by checking the package when you buy it in the store. Typically, filters with a higher MERV rating are more expensive given their more advanced construction.

Putting Ratings Into Perspective

MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. The lowest MERV ratings are reserved for blue fiberglass filters that used to be most people’s only option. Although these filters do capture some larger dust particles, the gaps between the fibers allow a lot of dust to get through, which can negatively affect the performance of your HVAC system and release large amounts of dust into your home.

On the other end of the spectrum are the filters with a MERV rating of between 17 and 20. Typically, these ratings are reserved for HEPA filters. Although we at Island Heating & Air Conditioning sometimes install HEPA filters in whole-home air purifiers, most filters that are this dense are reserved for medical use.

For most homeowners, a rating somewhere between 6 and 13 will provide the protection you need while still providing affordability for residential use. The type of filter you choose will largely depend on what you want your filter to remove from the air. If you have a home full of allergy-sufferers, for example, it may be beneficial to use a filter with a higher MERV rating. If you simply want to provide protection for your HVAC system, though, a lower MERV rating will suffice.

Airflow Versus Filter Effectiveness

Some people like to do whatever they can to keep their home as clean and healthy as possible. Toward this end, they select a filter with a high MERV rating to ensure it catches as many contaminants as possible. When choosing a filter that’s high on the MERV scale, though, there are trade-offs.

The main trade-off is that, due to the fibers in the filter being more tightly wound, your HVAC system will have to work harder to pull in the air when using a filter with a high MERV rating. While this is an acceptable trade-off, if it means fewer allergy symptoms, this extra work will also mean a higher utility bill and more wear and tear on your HVAC system. Therefore, if your main goal is energy-efficiency, it’s perfectly fine to use a filter with a lower MERV rating, as these filters won’t restrict the airflow nearly as much.

We Can Help You Choose

The best way to choose the right filter is to have your HVAC system analyzed by Island Heating & Air Conditioning. A technician will take a look at your blower motor to determine the types of filters that it can handle efficiently.

If you’ve already found the perfect filter, we can also take care of any maintenance, repair, and installation needs for your air conditioner and furnace. We also install programmable thermostats, mini-split systems, and a variety of other products.

In business for over 35 years, the caring professionals of Island Heating & Air Conditioning work hard to serve the community of Oak Harbor. This long-term commitment to professionalism has earned us an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. We also back all of our services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, meaning that we’ll work with you until you are absolutely thrilled with the job we’ve done.

For all that we seek to do, our greatest affirmations come from our customers’ glowing reviews of our technicians and company as a whole. If you need assistance with your HVAC system, we encourage you to contact us at Island Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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September 23, 2020 5:04 pm