HEPA or MERV filters: Everything You Need to Know

You should be aware of the quality of air in any place where you spend significant amounts of time. Whether it’s the workplace or your own home, air quality is important since it can seriously affect your health.

Sufficient filtration will minimize the effects of dust, pollen, dander, mold, and even viruses. Given the way that COVID-19 has transformed the way we live, air filtration is arguably more relevant than ever.

However, if you’ve started investigating potential air filters, you may have become overwhelmed quickly. Different filters have different capacities, and it’s crucial that you choose the correct one to meet your needs.


What are MERV filters?

A MERV filter is a filter with minimum efficiency reporting value. If you look at a filter’s rating, it will tell you how efficiently it can reduce the level of particles in the air. The higher the rating, the more efficient the filter.

Most residential HVAC filters have a MERV rating, so you can make a direct comparison between them. Any filter with a rating between 13 to 16 is considered to be very high ranking. It boasts the impressive capability of removing up to 75% of airborne particles 0.3 microns or greater.

What are HEPA filters?

Unlike most residential HVAC filters, HPAC filters do not have a MERV rating. This is because they exceed the tests that are used to assign MERV ratings. HEPA filters are tested to meet a specific efficiency in accordance with certain particle sizes, and they must all be at least able to remove 99.97% of particles at 0.3 microns.

No wonder their name stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filters! They are especially useful in environments like hospitals, where contaminants have to be trapped as quickly as possible. 


You might be attracted by the high performance of a HEPA filter, but bear in mind that you’ll have to pay more to power your HVAC equipment. They present a higher resistance to airflow than MERV filters do, so your HVAC system will have to work hard to pass through them!

That’s why you should only opt for HEPA when the very highest level of filtration is required. In a commercial setting, you might find that HEPA filters are mandatory due to regulation, so check this before you make your choice.

A MERV filter requires air to circulate more times to trap particles that a HEPA filter will catch the first time; however, at home, your air will be recirculated anyway. You can still enjoy clean air without paying more to push your air con through a high-resistance HEPA filter.

If you’re determined to use a HEPA filter, you’ll have to first confirm that your air conditioning system is compatible. Otherwise, you’ll need to upgrade that first.

What’s important to remember is that every building is unique and every air con user has their own lifestyle factors to consider. That’s why it makes sense to call Beehive Heating and Air to perform an assessment and provide their expert advice for your specific system.

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