If you are shopping for a new air conditioner, it’s important to understand the difference between MERV and HEPA filters. The filter in your HVAC system functions by removing impurities from the indoor air. This keeps your house clean and lessens allergy and asthma problems. The air circulating in your house first enters the HVAC system and gets filtered before being distributed throughout your rooms in a purified state.
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance or High-Efficiency Particulate Air (Filter). The former designation is a measure of how well an air filter removes particles from the air, while the latter is a measure of how well an air filter removes very small particulates from the air (for example, allergens that could cause symptoms in people with asthma or respiratory conditions).
What Is a MERV Filter?
A MERV rating is assigned to a filter by the manufacturer, and it varies from 1 to 16. The ratings relate to how well the filter removes particles from the air in your home. A higher number means that a filter will remove more particles than less efficient filters of the same size.
These filters capture particulate matter, like dust and chemicals, leaving everything else as clean air. MERV filters are also able to capture particles from outside the home that can’t be filtered by traditional systems, like pollen and mold spores. This is important because these emissions only get stronger when outside temperatures rise later in the year and more trees release pollen into the air.
High-rated filters may even get rid of biological growth, auto emissions, and smoke. They are very energy efficient and effectively eliminate airborne pollutants. At Environmental Heating & Air Solutions, we recommend that homes with residents who have allergies or asthma use filters with high MERV ratings.
It is paramount to understand that MERV values are not standard. Therefore, they will differ from one brand to another. This implies that while a filter with a MERV rating of 14 might be able to filter out volatile organic compounds, a separate filter with the same value might not be able to do so.
What Is a HEPA Filter?
The purpose of the HEPA filter is to capture airborne particles before they can be recirculated into your home’s interior environment. The HEPA filter is composed of a combination of fibers. These components are designed to trap airborne particulates. The fibers in the filter are designed to capture microscopic substances, including dust, pollen, mold spores, and pet dander.
The particle size captured by a HEPA filter will vary depending on the quantity of air passing through the filter. Generally, you will find that small particles become trapped by a HEPA filter due to a high air velocity.
In most cases, HEPA filters are considered to be the best filters when it comes to HVAC use. They trap particles and keep them from escaping into the air and recirculating continually. Moreover, they can capture particles in the air as tiny as 0.3 microns in diameter. This is a very significant accomplishment for any air filtration device.
The Difference Between MERV and HEPA Filters
As allergy and asthma rates skyrocket, many people wonder whether they need a HEPA filter or a MERV filter. Though HEPA and MERV filters are both designed to capture particles in the air, key differences make one more suitable than the other for various applications.
HEPA filters use high-efficiency particulate arrestance technology to trap airborne contaminants through microscopic pores in a cylindrical-shaped filter. While they’re able to catch just about any particle as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, they’re less effective at capturing larger particles.
MERV, on the other hand, is a measure of air filtration efficiency related to particle size. The higher the MERV number, the more efficient the filter will be at trapping small particles. For example, MERV 10 filters are able to capture particles as small as 1.0 micron with 50% efficiency, while MERV 14 filters are effective at capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns with 75% efficiency and as large as 10.0 microns with 95% efficiency.
It’s also worth noting that some air purifiers include a combination of HEPA and MERV filter layers. While the HEPA filter layer is designed to capture the vast majority of airborne particles (including bacteria), the MERV filter layer can effectively trap large particles such as dust, pet dander, and pollen.
Since both filters are designed to capture impurities in the air, there are times when using both together is an ideal solution. For individuals with compromised health, for example, HEPA filters are effective at trapping airborne particles such as bacteria, while the MERV layer is able to effectively trap larger particles such as dust and pollen.
For individuals with severe asthma, a combination filter can be used during the warmer months when pollen counts are highest. Residents can then switch to a high-efficiency filter during the winter when air quality becomes less of a concern.
The choice between a HEPA or MERV filter is more straightforward for those without allergies or asthma. Though both are designed to capture airborne particles, MERV filters are much more effective at capturing larger particles.
Why We Recommend HEPA Filters During Covid-19
HEPA filters are the best option to kill the virus that is the cause of Covid-19. Plus, they’re just better! HEPA filters can capture 99.97% of airborne particles such as bacteria, molds, and viruses, as small as 0.3 microns in size. This is what you should use to protect your health and your family.
There are two main types of HEPA filters: disposable and prefilter replacement (or PFR). Covid-19 is the most dangerous airborne virus ever encountered. Most viruses 0.3 to 0.2 microns in size can enter the body’s respiratory system through the nasal passages and multiply in the lungs, eventually reaching the bloodstream where they trigger flu symptoms. Covid-19’s particles are 0.27 microns in size, which means they will easily fit through the pores of a standard filtration system.
Your Indoor Air Quality Experts
Air conditioning is one of the most expensive things you can buy for your home, and it’s important to be careful whom you trust with installing and maintaining your system. At Environmental Heating & Air Solutions, we offer HVAC services at an affordable rate, and we are available on an accommodating schedule. It’s important to have a reputable HVAC company service your unit. You can trust that we are going to do a thorough job with your new installation, repair, or maintenance services. There are many different companies to choose from, but if you’re seeking a local company that has won numerous awards for excellence, look no further than Environmental Heating & Air Solutions.
Our company was formed because of our belief that we could do more good in the community. Plus, we’re committed to providing outstanding workmanship, fair prices, and conscientious devotion to our customers. We provide a full range of heating, cooling, and plumbing services to the residents of Roseville, CA and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today to obtain more information or discuss your particular needs. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment.