The Impact of MERV Rating on Airflow: What You Need to Know

When it comes to air conditioning systems, air flow is a major factor in performance and longevity. The MERV rating is a great way to measure the effectiveness of an air filter in a split central air conditioning system. The higher the rating, the better the filter, as it captures more particles and contaminants, improving the quality of incoming air flow. However, a higher MERV rating also means greater resistance, which translates to less airflow.

The MERV scale is not linear; the difference between a MERV 6 and a MERV 8 is almost double in terms of the percentage of particles captured. As the MERV rating increases, the filter becomes more restrictive and more pressure and energy will be needed to expel air. ASHRAE recommends MERV models 13 and 14, but it's best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific air conditioning system. Filter technology has advanced significantly over the years, and MERV ratings are designed to help us determine the most effective and efficient air filter options for heating and cooling systems. Home Energy published an article by Dave Springer, from Davis Energy Group at the time, about the pressure drop and energy consumption of several MERV filters.

Generally speaking, it's recommended that most homes and commercial spaces have a filter with a MERV rating of at least 5 to 12 on the higher end. If your home's air conditioning system isn't capable of withstanding the MERV 13, opt for a filter with the next highest possible rating. Air conditioning unit technology has progressed since then and most modern units in recent years should have at least one MERV 8 filter. It's important to note that masks with electrostatic charge require a different type of filter than those used in split central air conditioning systems. Fortunately, 3D printing technology has made it possible to print masks with a MERV 13 filter. When selecting an air filter for your home or business, it's important to consider both the efficiency of the filter and its impact on airflow. A higher MERV rating will capture more particles and contaminants, but it will also create more resistance and reduce airflow.

It's best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific air conditioning system.