When selecting a new furnace filter for your household, you want to be sure you’re taking all of the important criteria into account. The fact is, this decision can have a big impact on both your indoor air quality and your family’s comfort level, so it’s certainly not a choice you want to make impulsively. Fortunately, the MERV scale for furnace filters can be a big help in picking out the right furnace filter for your individual, unique situation.
MERV, which stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value,” gauges how well a furnace filter catches the tiny, dirty, unwanted particles in your indoor air. For residential use, the scale ranges from 1 to 16, with 16 being the most efficient. The majority of residential MERV filters falling somewhere between 4 and 12. Filters that are higher up on the scale can catch both smaller and more particles. The more particles your furnace filter captures, he cleaner your indoor air will be.
That being said, MERV filters that are higher up on the scale do tend to be more expensive, and aren’t necessarily worth it for every household. Filters rated around MERV 7 or 8 can catch 80 to 95 percent of all particles 5 microns or larger, and unless you or a family member suffer from allergies or some sort of immune system problem, there’s no real reason that shouldn’t be sufficient. However, if these health issues are present, higher MERV filters, around 11 or 12, are recommended. If you go higher than that, the filter may impede air flow in your HVAC system, which forces your furnace to work harder than it needs to, and uses more energy. Whatever filter you choose, make sure you change it regularly.
So, let the MERV scale be your guide when selecting a furnace filter, and for your HVAC needs in the greater Cleveland area, contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about MERV Filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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