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How Does MERV Rating Determine the Efficiency of Air Filters?

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MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a filter rating system developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The MERV rating measures how well a filter removes particles from the air that range in size from 0.3 to 10 microns. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficiently the filter will remove these particles from the air.

It is a scale used to rate air filters’ effectiveness. The more effective the air filter removes airborne particles with a high MERV rating. The scale range is from 1 to 16, with 16 being the highest rating. MERV 16 filters are typically only used in commercial or industrial settings, as they can significantly reduce airflow.

MERV 8-11 filters are most commonly used in homes and offices, as they strike a good balance between particle removal and airflow. MERV 1-4 filters are the least effective at removing particles, but they do not restrict airflow as much as high-MERV filters.



The Arrestance is determined by measuring the percentage of particles larger than 0.3 microns captured by the filter. The higher the Arrestance MERV rating, the more efficient the filter removes particles from the air. A filter with a high Arrestance MERV rating can help to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of respiratory illness. In addition, a high-efficiency filter can also help prolong your HVAC system’s life by reducing the dust and dirt that build up on components.


Dust Holding

Air filter capacity measures how much dust a filter can hold before it needs to be replaced. The higher the dust holding capacity, the longer the filter will last. The number of particles captured by a filter can be measured with the MERV rating. A higher MERV rating indicates that the filter is more effective at capturing small particles. Dust holding capacity is one factor contributing to a filter’s overall efficiency. A high dust holding capacity can help to lengthen the lifespan of a filter and improve its overall performance.

Dust spot efficiency measures how well an air filter can remove small particles from the air. The higher the dust spot efficiency, the better the filter removes these particles. Dust spot efficiency is related to MERV rating because the higher the MERV rating, the higher the dust spot efficiency.


The Most Penetrating Particle Size

The MPPS is the diameter of the smallest particle that can be viewed as having potential for penetration. The concept is essential when considering the MERV rating of a filter, which measures how effectively the filter removes particles from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller particles can pass through the filter.

When choosing an air filter, it is crucial to consider both the MERV rating and the specific needs of your home or office. For example, a merv 8 filter has an MPPS of 3 microns, while a MERV 16 filter has an MPPS of 0.3 microns. This means that the MERV 16 filter is more than 10 times as effective at removing particles from the air as the MERV 8 filter.


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