Understanding MERV Ratings for Your Furnace Filter

There are many benefits to replacing your disposable furnace filter with a permanent one. Instead of having to go out every few months and buy a new filter, you simply clean the one you already have. While a permanent filter costs more upfront, it typically pays for itself in one year or less.

One consideration that is easy to overlook is how much better an electrostatic filter traps airborne pollutants when compared to disposable paper filters. The MERV rating, which stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, is an easy way to determine the efficiency of a filter before you buy it.

Categories of MERV Ratings

MERV ratings go from 1 to 20 and are divided into five different categories. These are as follows:

  • 1 to 4: A filter with this rating cannot trap particulate matter smaller than 10 microns. It is between 65 and 80 percent efficient at pulling in common household particles like dust mites, sanding dust, and carpet fibers.
  • 5 to 8: This filter can capture particulate matter sized as low as 3 microns. It is between 80 and 90 percent effective at trapping airborne pollutants like hair spray, mold spores, and cement dust.
  • 9 to 12: A filter in this range can capture particulate matter sized as low as 1 micron. It is between 90 and 95 percent efficient in trapping lead dust, milled flour, and auto emissions. MERV filters rated 9 to 12 are frequently used in commercial buildings and hospital laboratories, but they also offer superior residential air filtration service.
  • 13 to 16: This high quality filter traps particulate matter as tiny as .30 microns, including up to 95 percent of bacteria and tobacco smoke. It is most often used in hospital surgery centers and smoking lounges, though it is also available for home use.
  • 17 to 20: This professional grade furnace filter traps particulate matter smaller than .30 micron. It is most often used in clean rooms, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and around radioactive materials.

Choose a Permanent Filter with a MERV Rating

Healthy Home Filter Company offers a range of furnace filter options for both home and business owners. We encourage you to check for a MERV rating and then purchase according to your needs. Please contact us if you need more information or help placing an order.


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