So, it’s time to replace your Pompano Beach home’s HVAC air filter and you’re stuck. What do all these numbers mean? Size is petty self-explanatory, but what is the MERV rating on air filters? Read on to learn what different HVAC MERV ratings mean and how to pick out the best one for your Pompano Beach area home.

What Does MERV Rating Mean?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it lets you know the size of particles your air filter will trap. The higher the rating, the smaller the particles your system can remove from the air. The lowest numbers remove larger debris, like dust mites and pollen, while higher ratings capture contaminants as small as bacteria.

What Different MERV Filter Ratings Do

MERV 1-4. Many standard filters have a MERV rating between one and four. These filters remove basic airborne irritants, like dust mites, large pollen, fibers from carpets and other textiles, insect debris, and sanding dust.

MERV 5-8. From ratings five to eight, filters start capturing small contaminants that make their way into residential HVAC systems. These filters capture particles like construction dust, small pollen, mold spores, dust lint, aerosol sprays, and pet dander.

MERV 9-12. These filters represent the top end of what most residential systems can handle. They’re more often used in commercial or industrial buildings and laboratories. At this level, filters remove welding fumes, car emissions, coal & lead dust, some bacteria, and milled flour.

MERV 13-16. Above 13, most MERV filters will only be installed in commercial or industrial buildings. They can capture bacteria, cigarette smoke, the spray from a sneeze, insecticide dust, oil droplets, and other fine particles.

MERV 17-20. The highest MERV ratings are only fit for specialty systems. They remove viruses, carbon dust, sea salt, odors, and the finest smoke particles.

Does a Higher MERV Rating Restrict Airflow?

Yes, higher MERV filters restrict airflow when they’re installed in systems not rated for their use. The higher a MERV rating goes, the more likely it is to restrict airflow. Running your air conditioning with a too-high MERV rating strains the system over time, usually resulting in air conditioner repairs. Most home systems can only support up to a MERV of 13. Commercial HVAC works with higher MERV ratings, especially in specialized buildings like labs and hospitals.

You’ll need to check your system to find out what MERV rating it’s compatible with. You can usually find the maximum MERV in the owner’s manual. However, if you’ve misplaced the manual or if it doesn’t say, an HVAC expert can inspect your system and tell you what MERV filters it supports.

What MERV Rating Do I Need?

When choosing the best MERV rating for your home, consider a few factors:

  • Your HVAC’s maximum MERV. As stated above, running your AC, heat pump, or mini-split system with a MERV rating it can’t handle leads to a strained, worn-out, and possibly broken system.
  • Allergies or asthma. If anyone in your home has respiratory issues, choose a MERV rating on the higher end (5–13) to eliminate as many airborne irritants as possible.
  • Pet dander. A MERV rating of eight or above will effectively remove pet dander and hair from circulation in your home.
  • Construction or excess dust. You may consider installing a higher-level MERV filter while having construction or remodeling done on your home or if you consistently struggle with a dusty home. Choose a filter from 5 to 8 to minimize dust and fine powder.

When a Higher MERV Isn’t the Answer, Call Pompano Beach’s Pros for HVAC Repair

Your AC works overtime in the hot, humid Pompano Beach air. Give it a boost with regular care and discounted repairs from our Comfort Club. Rest assured that the experts at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Pompano Beach have your HVAC needs covered, from filter questions to fully replacing your AC when the time comes. Call (954) 379-8260: or book online to get started.