What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle? | Recommended MERV Rating for Furnace Filters

What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?

A furnace is a large investment that is meant to last you for decades, so you want to make sure you take proper care to maintain it as recommended. This includes changing out the air filter regularly. You also want to make sure the filters you use have an adequate MERV rating. So, you might be asking what MERV rating can my furnace handle? Let’s start with the basics first.

What Is MERV Rating?

MERV is an acronym that stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. What it represents in practice is a rating that informs how well the filter does to prevent contaminants from invading your HVAC system. As the EPA explains, “the higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at trapping specific types of particles.”

recommended merv rating chart for furnace filter selection

Recommended MERV Rating for Furnace Filters

What you should buy really depends on how cost-conscious you are versus how important it is to clean particulates from your home’s air.

  • The lowest range of filters have MERV ratings of 1 to 4, and they are not very good for trapping small particles. They only filter out pollen, dust mites, and other particles larger than 10 microns. You will notice the filter is flat and not pleated like its more effective counterparts.
  • Medium quality filter ratings range from 5 to 8. They trap particles as small as 3 microns (like dander). We recommend this as a bare minimum for most applications, but we urge you to go next level if you can afford it.
  • replacing furnace filters
  • The EPA recommends MERV ratings of 9-12 because it is the most effective at keeping your home's air clean. A filter with this rating will prevent particulates as small as 1 micron from entering your HVAC system. This rating qualifies as HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) level.
  • Lastly, you can get filters that rate 13-20, but this is overkill for most homes, and it’s expensive, and it’s probably not even compatible with your configuration. Applications for this rating include commercial heating and cooling systems, like in hospitals and in manufacturing.

Keep Your Furnace Up to Date with PlumbersStock

Now that you know what MERV rating your furnace can handle, it's time to find the best HVAC filter for your installation. We carry a huge inventory of discount HVAC parts like furnace ignitors, blowers, blower wheels, and more. Did you know that you can find member pricing here on certain items (typically name brand, MAP priced items) if you log in? For industry professionals buying in bulk, please consider contacting us directly for extra special pricing and extra savings.

Related resources:
How to Change a Furnace Filter
How to Clean a Furnace
What Is a Furnace Filter?
Air Purifiers for Pets

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