What Are MERV Filters?

Merv Filter

It sounds like the name of a person rather than a filter: MERV filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a standard method of measuring a filter’s efficiency. MERV values help consumers differentiate among the many different types, brands, and price points of filters on the market. They also help builders, environmental engineers, health officials and others maintain indoor air quality.

The MERV rating stamped on your MERV filters provides insight into the type and size of particle it can filter from the air. Particles are different sizes. Big ones, like dog hair and dust, can be seen with the naked eye. Microscopic particles are too small to be seen with the naked eye. These include virus particles, smoke, exhaust fumes and other particles.

MERV filters are rated on a scale of 1 to 20. Filters on the lower end of the scale (closer to 1) can only filter larger particles. Filters rated 17 through 20 are those that can capture the smallest particles. These are the type of filters used in HEPA/ULPA filters.

If you’re using a low-number MERV filter to save money, consider exactly what you’re saving. Schools using MERV filters rated 1 to 4 may be following the guidelines for their system, but the difference in air quality is noticeable if they switch up to a higher MERV rating. The air at the end of the school day with MERV filters rated 1 to 4 feels stuffy and smells ‘funny’ – a sign that pupils may be inhaling less than adequate quality air. Higher MERV ratings keep air cleaner, remove particles that add that ‘funny’ smell, and ensure a healthier building for all.

Twin City Filter Service offers a wide range of filter materials, pads, frames and more. Custom filters are also available. Commercial air filters, bulk media, and other materials are available at our location or upon request. We ship same day to customers coast to coast, and offer next day delivery in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota. Twin City Filter Service may be reached at (612) 721-2001.

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