Using an air cleaner with a MERV rating of 5 to 8 is the best choice for most residential homes. MERV 5-8 filters provide good filtration and can remove most pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. These filters are slightly more restrictive than MERV 1-4 filters and can trap particles with a size of 3.0-10.0 microns. A MERV 5 filter can trap up to 34%, the MERV 6 will stop 35-49%, the MERV 7 will prevent up to 69%, and the MERV 8 will trap up to 85% of the particles.
The MERV rating you choose between 7 and 13 depends on the level of filtration you need. If your family has allergies or asthma, a higher MERV score is recommended. If your family doesn't have any difficulty breathing, a lower filter, such as a 7, will save you some money on your energy bill. Pleated filters that are MERV 8 to 13 can effectively filter small particles and decrease pressure drop.
These filters can trap pollen, dust, dust mites, mold, bacteria, pet dander, oven debris, hair, and other debris in the air before air enters the oven fan. The final count compared to the total amount of particles is converted to a percentage representing how many particles were successfully filtered out of the air. Filters with a MERV value 13-16 are the most restrictive and can trap the smallest particles, such as bacteria, tobacco smoke and burnt wood. A filter that falls within the 8-13 range can remove mold spores, lead dust, cooking dust, flour, hairspray, car fumes, furniture polish, and welding fumes.
As air moves through a building's HVAC system, air filters trap and pick up large and small particles, such as dust, allergens and microorganisms. Filters with higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV ratings. With the lowest MERV rating (1-), your filter will continue to capture pollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, and carpet fibers. Choosing an air filter with the right MERV rating is important for ensuring that your home is properly filtered and that your family is breathing clean air. Higher ratings are recommended for those with allergies or asthma while lower ratings are better for those without breathing difficulties.
Pleated filters that are rated between 8-13 are effective at trapping small particles while those rated 13-16 are the most restrictive and can trap even smaller particles such as bacteria.