When it comes to air filters, the MERV rating system is a widely accepted and used scale of 1 to 16 that indicates the efficiency of the filter and the degree to which it can trap contaminants in the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles it will capture and the higher the percentage of particles captured. Low-efficiency filters are generally within MERV 1-4 and high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and later. The MERV scale is not linear; the difference between a MERV 6 and a MERV 8 is almost double in the percentage of particles captured. For most Canadian homes, air filters with MERV ratings in this range are sufficient to filter most airborne impurities.
It is important to note that as the MERV rating increases, the filter becomes more restrictive and more pressure and energy will be needed to propel the air. Therefore, it is essential to choose an air filter with the right MERV rating for your HVAC system. The MERV 8 filter is the minimum standard air filter that we recommend for residential use. It is capable of capturing particles as small as 3 microns, including dust mites, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and other common allergens. Keep in mind that as the filter becomes loaded with dirt and dust, its effectiveness increases. Air filters with MERV 13 or higher are recommended for those who prioritize air quality and may have to manage asthma, severe allergies, and other similar circumstances.
Some technicians anticipate that people will forget to change their filters and regular use of low-efficiency filters could help minimize damage to a neglected HVAC. When shopping for an air filter, you should always check the size advertised against what is printed on the filter itself. You advertise a size and then, when you get them, it says on the filter the actual size, so the filter wasn't the size I needed. In terms of cost, low-efficiency filters are generally cheaper than high-efficiency filters. However, it is important to remember that you get what you pay for when it comes to air filters. Investing in a high-efficiency filter may cost more upfront but can save you money in the long run by reducing energy costs.