Who the Heck Is MERV?

Who the Heck Is MERV?

Have ya ever thought, “MERV, SCHMERV! Who and what the heck is MERV, anyway?”

No? Well... we have, and MERV can tell you a lot about how well an HVAC filter gets the job done, but it doesn’t tell you everything. We are here to tell you what matters most about MERV.

Jump to section:

What Does MERV Stand For?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s a comparison value rating system developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

It measures a filter’s ability to capture dirt, dust and critters as air passes through the filter. Here is a breakdown of the MERV rating system:

MERV 1-4:

  • Low-efficiency filters.
  • Capture larger particles like dust, lint, and pollen.
  • Minimal filtration of smaller particles and allergens.
  • Commonly used in residential HVAC systems with basic filtration needs.

MERV 5-8:

  • Better filtration than MERV 1-4.
  • Capture smaller particles like pet dander and mold spores.
  • Suitable for improving indoor air quality in homes.

MERV 9-12:

  • High-efficiency filters.
  • Effective at capturing fine particles such as fine dust, smoke, and some bacteria.
  • Suitable for homes where occupants have allergies or respiratory concerns.

MERV 13-16:

  • Very high-efficiency filters.
  • Capture even smaller particles, including viruses, bacteria, and smoke.
  • Commonly used in healthcare facilities, laboratories, and settings with stringent air quality requirements.

MERV 17-20:

  • Ultra-high-efficiency filters.
  • Hospital-grade filters designed for critical environments like clean rooms and operating theaters.
  • Offer the highest level of air filtration available.

Okay, so whats this all mean?

Basically, the higher the MERV rating, the better the filter works at trapping certain types and sizes of airborne particals.

But there’s a catch. (pun totally intended!)

The Higher the MERV Rating, the Better, Right?

The Catch: The better a home air filter filters (i.e. the higher the MERV rating), the more resistance there is when air is pushed through it. This can create some issues.

Not all HVAC systems are built to move air through certain types of filters without creating so much resistance that your system’s performance is affected and may even shut down.

The Problems With Traditional Home Filters

Okay, we get it…it’s a freakin’ air filter. What’s the big deal? As a home owner there are a few things to take into consideration when looking for the right air filter for you and your home.

You should think about where you live, who lives with you and your lifestyle. On the other hand, technology may be moving past MERV, so take that into account, but dig a little deeper into what’s actually inside an air filter too.

You’re probably familiar with your standard cardboard-framed filters with pleats. They can be 1-6 inches thick. Most homeowners use these, and they do a pretty good job, but there are some potential problems:

Problem #1: Filter Material Surface Area

Pleating the filter material creates more surface area to trap junk in the air moving through a filter. The key here is surface area – there’s only so much surface and once that gets all gunked up, it’s not doing the job for you.

Problem #2: Resistance on Your HVAC System

The finer the filter material the better it will filter air, but that creates resistance your system which it may not be designed to handle. That’s inefficient and wastes energy = higher energy bill.

Problem #3: Cardboard Frames

The cardboard frame presents two problems. Most cardboard filters you buy at Big Box stores don’t fit snugly round the edges. When you slide them into your HVAC system there’s a little bit of wiggle room.

That little bit of space lets unfiltered air bypass the filter. It’s called blow-by and just like water, air takes the path of least resistance and disproportionately rushes around a cardboard-framed filter, sending dirty unfiltered air into your HVAC system.

This mucks up not only your HVAC motor, but blows pet dander, allergens, microbes and more directly into your home. Are you really breathing clean air then? 

Problem #4: Mold and Mildew Growth

Finally, cardboard itself can absorb moisture, weakening the structure, and potentially harboring mold and mildew. That lets even more air go around it along with dust mites, mold spores, pollen, germs, etc., that again, gets blown through your house.

Yuck – especially for people with asthma, allergies, or other breathing issues. Consitdering the following, Yoor Air filters solve all of that. They look different, work differently, and do a better job. No, seriously... we're not just sayin' that! 

Let us explain. 

The Best Air Filter for Your Home

Solution #1: Depth Loading Filter

Yoor Air filters are thinner and create less resistance than some of the cardboard box filters but there’s actually more surface area getting the job done because of the layers of material – think sifting sand.

That’s because the gunk gets trapped IN the filter, not just ON the filter, and with less resistance, that means it will last also longer.

Solution #2: Polyester Fibers

Yoor Air filters don’t have pleats, cuz pleats suck!

Our filters have layers of polyester fiber to trap varying sizes of dust, gunk and microbes layer by layer inside the filter as air passes through. (It’s a little more complicated than that, but we’ll save you all the techy lingo jargon – you’re welcome.)

Solution #3: Galvanized Wire Frame

The best part about our filters are the fact that they are made with a sleek galvanized wire frame embedded inside the layers of filter material. The stiff frame holds the filter in place and won’t wick any moisture that could damage your system like cardboard can.

Solution #4: Tighter Fit and Seal

The Yoor Air filter fabric extends beyond the galvanized frame to create a flange or gasket around all four sides of the filter. This fills in the space around your filterforcing ALL the air to go through the filter. That means no blow-by getting into and messing up your furnace. Less dust in your house.

What is The Yoor Air Difference?

So, are you even more confused or enlightened? We hope it’s the latter. But, if you're still not convinced, take a look at The Yoor Air Difference which explains why our home air filters are turly better for trapping all the crap and why we have the best damn air filters!

Give Yoor Air Filters a try. We make it so simple to get clean air all day, every day, all the damn time.

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