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Finding the Right Air Filter for Your Home This Spring


Spring is in the air, and that can mean a lot of problems if you haven’t recently replaced your air filter. In addition to dust, all kinds of airborne allergens such as pollen, spores, and germs can enter your home if you don’t have a fresh air filter that meets your needs. Unless you take action to filter them out, these particles can present health risks and reduce your overall comfort inside your home.

Not All Air Filters Are the Same!

If you’re concerned about the quality of the air inside your home, you probably don’t want to shop for an air filter based on its price alone. This is because not all air filters are the same – some are built to filter out as many particles as possible, while others focus on particles of a particular size and allow smaller ones (if any) to pass through.

What’s the MERV Scale & How Does It Apply to Air Filters?

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) scale was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Airconditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The MERV scale is used to rate air filters based on how well they filter air particles.

Here’s how the MERV scale works:

  • MERV 1-4 generally filters out less than 20% of large particles (3-10 microns).
  • MERVs 5, 6, and 7 respectively filter out at least 20%, 35%, and 50% of large particles.
  • MERV 8 filters out at least 70% of large particles and at least 20% of smaller particles (1-3 microns)
  • MERV 10 filters out at least 80% of large particles and at least 50% of small particles

The MERV scale continues from 11 to 20, progressively filtering out as many particles as possible until almost none can pass through at MERV 20.

Which MERV Should I Look for in an Air Filter?

Ideally, you should look for the filter with the greatest MERV rating that’s compatible with your residential HVAC system, which may be a MERV rating between 8 and 11.

At these ratings, you can count on your filter to trap 70% to 85% of larger particles and up to 20% to 50% of smaller particles. For most homeowners – even those who suffer from allergies and asthma – this is plenty of protection!

Contact Us for Help!

At Bay Heating & Air Conditioning, we understand that keeping a home's air filter clean is essential to having a healthy and comfortable environment.

Our team of certified technicians can provide advice on the best type of filter for your home and HVAC system. We offer a wide variety of air filters in different sizes and MERV ratings to ensure you get the most effective protection against allergens, dust, mold spores, and other pollutants.

For more information, contact us online!