Understanding MERV Ratings

Comparison shopping for a replacement air conditioner or heater filter is confusing if you don’t understand what individual product specifications mean. One common term that few consumers understand is the MERV rating. For homeowners who are concerned about having the most efficient and practical HVAC system in their house, it’s critical to understand what the MERV rating is and how you can use it to choose the right replacement air or furnace filter for you.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and was created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers as a way to measure the effectiveness of air filters. Essentially, the MERV rating shows consumers how effectively the filter stops dust particles and other airborne contaminants from passing through it. The MERV rating goes from 1-16, with a higher number meaning that it blocks more contaminants. You can find the MERV rating on product listings for air filters that you purchase from popular sites such as Your Filter Connection.

If you are searching for a replacement Honeywell air filter, you might automatically assume that purchasing one with the highest MERV rating available is the right choice. After all, you want to breathe clean air and filter out as many possible dangerous airborne particles as possible. However, the truth is that the highest level of air conditioner and furnace filters aren’t designed for residential use; typically, anything with a MERV rating of 13-16 is designed for use in sterile environments such as hospital rooms, surgical centers and laboratories.

In fact, buying a replacement Honeywell furnace filter or air conditioner filter that has an extremely high MERV rating might cause problems for your HVAC system. Filters with higher MERV ratings have smaller pores to let fewer particles through them; this also means that your air conditioning and heating unit needs to work harder to create sufficient airflow. This can lead to an inefficient heating and cooling system that results in higher energy costs, poor quality heating and cooling or even damage to your unit.

When searching for a replacement air conditioning or heating filter, take the time to review the specifications that came with your unit. In many cases, the manufacturer will recommend a range of MERV ratings that will allow your HVAC system to operate efficiently while also filtering out unwanted environmental pollutants. You also need to keep in mind that is you purchase filters with higher MERV ratings, they will need to be changed more frequently to avoid having clogs that restrict proper airflow.


The experts at Your Filter Connection are one of the largest suppliers of replacement heater filter and AC filter parts and accessories.


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