February 23, 2021

HVAC Services, Inc. has been keeping South Central Kentucky comfortable for over 35 years. Whenever you have an issue with your heating or cooling system, be sure to call the home of the Same Day Service guarantee on Any Brand at Any Time! 

With the importance of indoor air quality at an all-time high, we wanted to take the time to explain the importance of choosing the correct filter for your system. It’s always a great time to join our FAN CLUB and our technicians can keep your heating and air conditioning in tip-top shape and fit the perfect filter to your system.

A Few Good Things To Know

An air filter’s minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating measures how effectively the filter stops dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter and into the air stream. Filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings.

In general, filters with a rating of MERV 16 or below are considered to be HVAC-system-grade filters for residential, commercial, and general hospital use. MERV 17 through MERV 20 filters are typically used in surgical operating rooms, clean rooms, and other contexts that require absolute cleanliness.

For instance, our highest-rated IAQ system, The Lennox PureAir, is rated as a MERV 16. Its efficiency and the system it works within allows for a higher MERV-rated filter while not straining the system.

MERV Filter Ratings and Efficiency

When selecting the right filter for your application, higher is not always better. Using an air filter with a MERV rating higher than what your furnace or air conditioner manufacturer recommends can actually impair its performance.


MERV 1-6

Might as well use paper towels.

MERV 6-8

Furnace filters with MERV ratings between 6-8 are the cheapest ones and are considered the bare minimum of efficiency. MERV 6-8 filters protect your HVAC system but are not considered the most effective at catching large portions of airborne particles. If anyone in your household suffers from allergies or asthma, you should consider getting a higher MERV air filter. Filters with a MERV 6 rating are more affordable and will provide the bare minimum for a home without furry pets.

MERV 8-10

These air filters are most common for use in residential homes and are still relatively affordable.  MERV 8-10 filters capture more of the large particles and at least half of the smaller particles like pollen, mold, and mildew spores. These air filters are also a more affordable option for allergy sufferers than higher MERV filters. So, if you’re looking for a high-quality furnace filter that’s not too expensive, then a MERV 8-10 filter is worth considering.

MERV 11-13

MERV 11-13 air filters are somewhat of a middle ground between the cheap ones and the more expensive ones. They are efficient at capturing nearly all of the largest particles, as well as most of the smaller ones. If you have pets, a MERV 11-13 filter will be much more effective at cleaning your indoor air. These air filters provide highly effective residential air filtration for a much healthier breathing environment.

MERV 13 air filters are considered the best overall for residential HVAC systems.

MERV 14 and higher

These air filters are incredibly efficient but are not recommended for residential use. They’re large, bulky, and are designed primarily for heavy-duty filtration in places such as medical facilities. Air filters with MERV ratings above 13 also tend to restrict airflow because they have smaller pores to capture smaller particles. A MERV 14 or higher air filter can create more resistance in airflow than a residential HVAC system is designed to handle. This reduction in the airflow to your HVAC system can worsen the air quality in your home, as well as put too much pressure on your AC system.

Before shopping around for higher efficiency air filters, it’s important to remember that your filter and your furnace must work together.

Not sure which air filter is right for your furnace?

Contact us online or call us at (270) 651-3841 and we’ll be more than happy to help you out with any questions you may have about your HVAC system, especially your filter.

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