MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) (noun): a standard rating system used to evaluate the efficiency of air filters, specifically their ability to capture and remove particles from the air. The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 16, with higher MERV ratings indicating a greater ability to filter out smaller particles. The system was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
- MERV 1-4: Filters with these ratings provide minimal filtration. They are typically used to protect HVAC equipment rather than improve indoor air quality.
- MERV 5-8: These filters are suitable for residential and commercial settings and can capture particles like mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander.
- MERV 9-12: Considered superior residential and better commercial filters, they can capture particles like lead dust, auto emissions, and welding fumes.
- MERV 13-16: These are the highest residential ratings and can capture bacteria, tobacco smoke, and sneeze particles.
It’s important to choose an air filter with an appropriate MERV rating based on the specific needs of the environment and the capabilities of the HVAC system.