Are you curious about what the MERV rating on your furnace filter means? Over time, air filters accumulate dirt, dust and other particles from the air. This makes them less effective at trapping those particles in your home’s air supply—which isn’t great for anyone who has asthma or allergies! Fear not though, as understanding everything about the MERV rating of your furnace filter can help provide some much-needed relief. In this blog post we’ll cover exactly what a MERV rating is, how it affects filtration and indoor air quality, and why getting one that fits both your needs and budget is important. So, let us dive right into it!

Pro tip! 

If you’re like most businessowners or homeowners in Salt Lake City who don’t want to be bothered with the ugly details of maintaining your furnace, you’re not alone. To save yourself some headache be sure to sign up for a Distress to Rest Service plan from S.O.S Heating and Cooling. This Distress to Rest service plan will take the guess-work out of changing your furnace filters.

This plan also gives you:

  • A full 20 point inspection on your furnace system
  • A full 24 point inspection on your cooling system
  • 10% off any other services or installations.
  • Priority service
  • No evaluation fees
  • 50% off of after hour service call fees

If you have ever had trouble with your furnace filter this is the plan for you! Call today! 801-449-1771 or send us a quick note!

How was the MERV Rating System Developed?

The MERV rating system is a tool used to measure the effectiveness of air filtration for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. This system was developed in 1987 and is the standard for measuring air filter performance. It measures a filter’s ability to capture particles from .3 microns up to 10 microns in size, with higher ratings indicating an increase in efficiency. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) sets the standards that establish what range of particle sizes each filter is required to capture, allowing buyers to compare an array of filters sold on the market with confidence. Extensive laboratory testing and computer simulation must be done in order to assess a filter’s MERV score. Today, MERV remains one of the most reliable ways to determine how well a furnace is performing.

MERV Ratings and What they Mean

MERV ratings are typically between 1-16. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing contaminants like pollen and dust. Ratings between 8-13 are ideal for household use, as they provide a good balance between better indoor air quality and less necessary maintenance on your furnace system. Choosing the right MERV rating will help ensure that you are creating the best atmosphere possible in your home while also protecting your furnace’s performance. Armed with this knowledge, you can rest assured knowing that you have selected an optimal filter system to keep your home’s air clean and breathable!

MERV Rating Breakdown:

Merv 1-4 Furnace Filters

These furnace filters provide basic dust and particulate filtration in most residential furnace systems. It will not provide effective filtration for odors or fragrances, or much protection against bacteria, pollen, or other smaller airborne contaminants. However, these lower rated furnace filters are usually affordable and easy to maintain compared to higher rated furnace filters. So, for an everyday furnace filter that provides basic air pollution removal along with minimal effort or cost, furnace filters with a 1-4 MERV rating are the perfect choice.

Merv 5-8 Furnace Filters

These furnace filters offer effective protection from dust, lint, pollen, pet dander, along with smaller airborne particles like mold spores. These furnace filters are usually made of pleated synthetic material for more efficient air flow. These filters are excellent choices for furnace systems used in residential homes. In addition to improving indoor air quality and decreasing allergies, using furnace filters between ab5-8 MERV rating can help protect your furnace system from getting clogged with debris and reduce the need for maintenance or repairs.

Merv 9-12 Furnace Filters

Are you looking for a furnace filter with increased efficiency and better protection? A filter with a 9 to 12 MERV rating is an excellent option. These filters offer superior protection compared to lower MERV ratings. This is due to their increased ability to trap smaller particles. Not only do higher MERV rated filters help protect your indoor air quality; but also improve airflow, reduce energy costs, and prolong furnace life. When shopping for furnace filters of this rating, take into consideration the size you need as well as the air handling capacity of your furnace for maximum performance.

Merv 13-16 Furnace Filters

These higher capacity filters are specifically designed to trap smaller particles, such as dust mites, pet dander, and pollen. This helps eliminate the amount of unwelcome debris circulating through the ventilation system in your home or office. Higher MERV furnace filters also provide improved protections against exposure to certain gasses, such as exhaust fumes and paint fumes. With an appropriate MERV furnace filter you’ll be able to experience cleaner air every time you step inside your home.

 Merv 17-20 Furnace Filters

These furnace filters are typically recommended for hospitals, laboratories, and other commercial spaces. These are the most effective at filtering out small particles. Those in the 17 to 20 range provide excellent filtration performance, capable of trapping 99.5% of contamination in the air.

A Higher Rating is not Always Better!

It seems like choosing a furnace filter with the highest MERV rating is the best choice. However, a higher rating is not always better. Furnace filters with a high MERV rating can cause extra strain on your furnace system, as smaller particles require more energy from your furnace to be filtered out properly. To avoid this issue, it’s always best to check with a local Salt Lake City Heating and Air professional. S.O.S Heating and Cooling will walk you through which furnace filter is right for your system. Give us a call anytime! We can help make sure you get the best furnace filter for the job. This will keep your energy costs low and your furnace system running smoothly. Contact Us!



S.O.S Heating and Cooling LLC is your reliable Salt Lake City HVAC professionals. Our team of NATE Certified technicians have the knowledge, skills, and expertise necessary to bring you quality service.  We specialize in furnace repairs, system tune-ups, and installations to ensure improved indoor air quality in your home. Call now for help determining which MERV rating is best for your system and rest assured that S.O.S Heating and Cooling is at the ready to assist you with all of your HVAC needs. Call 801-449-1771 today!