Air FiltersAmong the top preventative maintenance measures you can take to protect your air conditioning and heating system is replacing your AC filter at least once a month. But with an abundance of choices ranging in prices from less than a buck to nearly $20 each staring you in the face with each trip to the hardware store, it can be tough to choose the right one. To help, you’ll want to know a thing or two about MERV ratings.

An acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, MERV refers to a measure of an AC filter’s ability to remove pollutants from the air as they pass through the filter. These impurities can include dust, pet dander, tobacco smoke, pollen, bacteria, mold spores and viruses measured in units of microns. Essentially, the higher a filter’s MERV rating, the higher the number of dust particles and airborne contaminants it’s capable of trapping. That’s important for not only your home’s air quality, but your family’s health, too.

MERV ratings range from 1-16. Here’s a rundown of their abilities:

  • MERV 1-4: The cheapest and most common air conditioning filters have a MERV rating of 1-4 and capture only particles larger than 10 microns. If someone in your home suffers allergies, you’ll want to choose a filter with a higher MERV rating, as many of pollutants that can trigger allergies are far smaller than 10 microns. 
  • MERV 5-8: Commercial buildings and homes with pets are better outfitted with AC filters with MERV ratings of 5 to 8, capable of capturing particles as small as three microns. 
  • MERV 9-12: If you or someone in your home suffers allergies, choose an AC filter with a MERV rating of 9-12, which will trap particles measuring one to three microns in size. These filters also are great for commercial facilities that have lots of dusty areas, such as warehouses.
  • MERV 13-16: These filters will trap even the tiniest of particles – as small as .3 microns. That’s why they’re used in hospitals, clinics and laboratories.

Air conditioning filters with higher MERV ratings fill up quickly, which means you’ll need to replace them more frequently. And, to further maintain your home’s air quality and your family’s health, schedule annual air conditioning maintenance service by calling Jacksonville Beach’s Charlie’s Tropic Heating & Air Conditioning at 904-685-8937.