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What Does a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) Rating Mean?

Posted by Bodie Czeladka on

When you start to research a split system installation in Perth, you will start to see the term MERV rating on every piece of cooling equipment. The MERV rating is a measure of how well the air filter in the equipment can remove particles from the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles that can be removed, and this will result in cleaner air. Let’s take a closer look at the ascending effectiveness of MERV ratings and why you don’t want an air filter that has the higher rated filters.

The Pros and Cons of Higher MERV Ratings

When you carry out an air conditioning installation in Perth, you may be tempted to simply get the highest possible MERV rating for your system. After all, everyone wants cleaner air in their homes, and the highest MERV ratings will deliver that for you. But, there is a downside to this thinking, the higher the MERV rating is, the denser the filtration media will be, and the harder it will be to force air through the filter. In fact, if you have a very high MERV rating in your home, you would need an extremely powerful fan unit to force air through the filter. A more powerful fan will consume far more energy, and this will be reflected in your monthly energy bills.

Finding the Right MERV Rating for Your Home

The good news is that your split system installation will not need the highest MERV ratings to be effective in your home. We will detail what each MERV rating band means below, but it’s important to mention that the highest ratings are not really suitable for domestic applications. The top MERV ratings are typically reserved for applications where the cleanest air is needed, such as laboratories, hospitals, and clinics. The level of clean air needed in these locations is far above what you would need in a typical home environment.

MERV Ratings Explained

The MERV ratings go from 1-20, and residential air filters are typically in the 1-4 range. Some homeowners with allergies or respiratory illnesses may have a MERV rating as high as 8, but this is less common. Let’s take a closer look at what each MERV rating range means.


MERV 1-4: This air filter will catch large particles, such as dust, pollen, insects, dust mites, and carpet fibres. These are classed as domestic MERV ratings.


MERV 5-8: At these ratings, finer dust particles, pet dander, mould spores, and aerosol sprays can be filtered. These are classed as more exacting domestic and light industrial MERV ratings.


MERV 9-12: These types are not typically installed in a home, and you’re more likely to find them in an industrial or laboratory setting. They can capture larger bacteria, lead dust, and automotive fumes.


MERV 13-16: These are heavier duty air filters uses in hospital surgeries.


MERV 17-20: These are the highest rated air filters, and they are often used in clean rooms where laboratory work is being carried out, or sensitive electronics are being assembled.

If you need a split system installation in Perth, get in touch with Air Spares for expert help and advice today.


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