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Know your Air filters

Indoor air quality is usually affected by particles such as dust, pet dander, pests such as cockroaches and rodents, and viruses, gases such as carbon monoxide, smoke, cooking fumes, chemical fumes, and particulate matter. These types of constituents can cause a variety of reactions which can be a mild allergy to potentially life-threatening diseases

The air filter allows the air to pass through to the duct system, while at the same time trapping the small particles in the air and not letting them pass through to the rest of the building/indoor space. This allows the air passing through your ventilation system to have less of a chance of spreading around irritants that can be inhaled.


A MERV rating shows numerical values. The range is from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 20 (highest efficiency). MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. This is an industry-standard rating system. The higher the rating the higher the number of air particulates the air filter can filter.


Higher MERV= More Filtration


The higher the MERV (M), you get better filter performance. M values 1 through 4 are designed to remove large particles. These filters are used primarily to protect equipment. They are used in light industrial and residential applications. Their average efficiency from 3 to 10 micron is less than 20%.


Filters with a (M) value 5 - 8 removes finer dust particles. These air filters are used to protect people or products from airborne contaminants. These particles could hurt health and productivity.


MERV 9 - 12 filters remove the bulk of dust we see in homes and offices. They generally allow enough air to flow through a furnace filter to allow the blower to stay cool.


M rating of 13 and above are higher quality filters. They are especially used in commercial applications.



The MERV rating system makes it easier for consumers to compare the effectiveness of all the different air filters available.  The material used, quality, and construction of air filters may differ; however, the MERV system sets expectations for the level of filtration provided from an air filter with a specific MERV rating.


The bottom line is that you definitely can improve your indoor air quality and filter out particles that carry viruses.  ASHRAE and the CDC recommend MERV 13 filters. Increasing the performance of your filters will reduce virus transmission.


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