Let’s discuss how MERV, not Merv Griffin the talk show host from years past, but, MERV. The  Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and how it is used when measuring air filter effectiveness.  The MERV rating reveals how well your system’s air filter traps air particles and pollutants in your home air.

The MERV ranges from 1 to 20. 20 is typically for filters that can trap the tiniest particles, for example use in clean rooms. The correct air filter is important for two reasons:

  1. The filter traps pollutants in the air that could be harmful, including dust, pet dander, viruses, bacteria and mold.
  2. The correct air filter can keep your home comfort system running efficiently by increasing air flow and keeping harmful debris from building up in your comfort system.

Low cost filters have MERV ratings from 1-4.  Higher quality filters are rated from 9-12. Below is a breakdown of MERV ratings according to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency):

MERV Rating Efficiently Traps:
1-4 Pollen, dust mites, sanding dust and carpet fibers
5-13 Dusting aids, fabric protector, mold spores and hair spray.
14-16 Bacteria and tobacco smoke
17-20 Used in clean rooms, pharmaceutical manufacturing, and around carcinogenic substances


  • Filters rated 14 to 16 are very efficient but shouldn’t be mistaken for HEPA filters, which have MERV values of 17 to 20. True HEPA filters are normally not installed in residential HVAC systems, which are often unable to accommodate such filters.

If you have questions about selecting the best air filter for your home’s heating and cooling system, contact the experts at Hobaica Services, 602-995-0387.

Serving the Valley of the Sun since 1952 we’re always glad to answer questions about your heating or cooling system.