What is the Recommended MERV Rating for Air Filters?

The Minimum Efficiency Report Values (MERV) indicate the ability of a filter to capture particles between 0.3 and 10 microns (µm). The MERV 1 rating is the lowest efficiency with minimal filtration, while rating 16 offers the highest efficiency and filtration. A high MERV rating means more particulate matter will be removed from the air, so you might think that air filters with the highest MERV rating are the best. MERV 5 to 8 filters provide good filtration and remove most pollen, mold spores and dust mites.

MERV 10 to 12 air filters are capable of trapping particles down to 1 micron, such as car exhaust, pollen and mold spores. Although ASHRAE recommends MERV models 13 and 14, it's best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific air conditioning system. The optimal MERV rating for capturing particles smaller than 1 and no larger than 3 microns is 9 to 12. This range of MERV ratings is sufficient to capture particles such as pollen, mold spores, legionella and humidifier dust.

Darryl Coste
Darryl Coste

Friendly web scholar. Devoted student. Wannabe pizza fanatic. Subtly charming bacon fan. General entrepreneur. Infuriatingly humble troublemaker.

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