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Will a Higher MERV Filter Make a Difference in Monthly Costs and Indoor Air Quality?

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The air filters of your heating and cooling system remove harmful particles and contaminants from your indoor air, but they can also greatly reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. So will you actually notice the difference with an upgraded MERV filter, how can you find the right balance of filter ratings for your home, and what do these MERV numbers mean?

What is a MERV Rating?

MERV is an acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it is a measure of how effective an air filter is at removing particles from the air. In general, though, the higher the rating, the lower the airflow on the other side of the filter. But striking the right balance can in fact have an impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs, and will improve the quality of the air you breathe. 


1-4: Filters down to 10 microns

4-8: Filters 3 to 10 microns

9-12: Filters 1 to 3 microns

13-16: Filters 0.3 to 1 microns

17-20: Filters 0.3 microns and below

MERV Ratings for Residential Heating and Cooling

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends that for most residential applications, there is no need to exceed MERV 13 filters. However, not all HVAC systems are designed to handle that high of a filter rating. Before upgrading your MERV filter, make sure you are following manufacturer specifications, or consult a professional HVAC maintenance company like Calfo. 

Will You Notice Your HVAC Filter Replacement?

When the right MERV filter is installed and replaced every 30 to 60 days in your heating and cooling system, the real benefit is what you don’t notice. MERV filters in the 11 to 13 range will remove most pollen, dust mites, sawdust, textile and carpet fibers, mold spores, general household dust, concrete dust, legionella, lead dust, coal dust, and nebulizer and humidifier dust, meaning you will notice less dust throughout your home and you will feel fewer contaminants in your breathing air. You also shouldn’t notice any uptick in the energy used by your heating and cooling system. If you do, then you should consult an HVAC contractor to find the right MERV filter for your furnace or AC!

In short, upgrading your MERV filter will affect your indoor air quality, but it should not affect your energy efficiency.

Get HVAC Air Filter Help from Calfo

If you are looking for ways to clean up the air in your Pittsburgh area home, it starts with finding the right MERV filter rating for your heating and cooling system. Not only is Calfo Heating and AC the trusted HVAC contractor near you, we are also your indoor air quality experts — and we will roll out the red carpet for you from beginning to end! Improve your poor indoor air quality with a call to Calfo. 

Improve your indoor environment with the right air filter for your home. Call Calfo at 412-517-6509 to get help with your HVAC air filters.