Air filters serve an essential purpose in your HVAC system. They help prevent dust, pollen, pet dander and other contaminants from accumulating on your HVAC’s internal components and circulating through your home. They preserve your indoor air quality while saving your AC unit from possible damage.


Savvy homeowners know that regularly replacing their filters is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to prolong their HVAC system’s life, while easing symptoms of allergies and respiratory illnesses caused by unhealthy indoor air.


When shopping for a new filter, you may notice a potentially unfamiliar acronym – MERV. Here’s a guide to what this term means, how to understand it and why you should look for it.

What Does MERV Mean?

MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers developed this measurement system to represent how efficiently air filters reduce airborne particles and contaminants.


A filter’s MERV rating is a number from 1 to 20. It derives from the minimum size particle it can trap, measured in microns. The better a filter is at catching pollutants, the higher its MERV rating will be. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should buy the highest-rated MERV filter you can find. Here’s why.

What’s the Best MERV Rating for You?

Selecting a filter with the correct MERV rating is all about balancing your indoor air quality needs with your HVAC system’s performance. Before replacing your air filter, review your owner’s manual to see whether your HVAC system specifies a maximum MERV rating. If it does, take note, and make sure to never get a filter with a higher MERV rating than the listed number. That’s because airflow decreases as MERV ratings increase, thus forcing your HVAC system to work harder than usual.


MERV 13 air filters are the highest-rated air filters available for home use. While filters with MERV ratings of 14 and above are common in industrial and medical-grade settings, using an air filter with a MERV rating higher than your furnace or air conditioner manufacturer recommends can make your HVAC significantly less efficient. As a rule of thumb, a MERV rating between 6 and 8 will provide an ideal mix of performance and home comfort.

Best-in-Class Protection for Your Home and Family

It’s understandable to want to look for higher MERV ratings if people in your household struggle with respiratory issues like allergies or asthma. However, you have other choices if your system can’t handle the MERV ratings you require.


Since indoor air quality is crucial for your family’s overall well-being, let the experts at Above & Beyond help you make a wise decision about filtration options. For example, Air Scrubber Plus® is a revolutionary system designed to remove up to 99% of the pollutants from the air you breathe. We also offer the Trane Clean Effects™ whole-house air filtration system, which is up to 100 times more effective than a standard HVAC air filter.

In addition to these innovative solutions, our team is available 24/7 for emergency service. Contact us at 443-233-1713 to schedule a consultation or learn more about our affordable preventive maintenance plans in Delmarva. We offer free estimates with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.