Winter is bearing down hard on northwest Arkansas, which means your furnace is going to get a real workout for several months. One simple way to improve the performance of your furnace – and make your home more comfortable – is installing the right air filter, then changing it regularly. And when it comes to filters, MERV is the word.

MERV, which stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, is a nationally recognized filter rating system created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.  MERV filters are categorized on a scale from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV number, the smaller the particulates the filter is able to capture.

  • For a typical Arkansas home, MERV filters rated 4 to 8 are suitable for capturing  80 to 95 percent of particles 5 microns or larger. This represents hairspray, carpet fibers, pet dander and other objects that could otherwise escape into your house or collect in your vents.
  • If you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma, consider MERV filters with a  rating of 11 or higher. These pleated filters can trap humidifier dust, lead dust and other small particles that might aggravate a medical condition.
  • For maximum protection, MERV filters rated 14 to 16 will trap bacteria, tobacco smoke and even a sneeze. Controlled environments like hospital rooms often use this level of filtering. However, these high-efficiency MERV filters can slow airflow, especially when installed in low-efficiency furnaces.

You’ll find MERV numbers printed on filter packages. If you’re unsure about what filters work best for your system, consult with a proven energy specialist, who can assess your needs and advise you on ways to save on heating and cooling all year round.

For more information on how filters can improve furnace efficiency, contact the friendly pros at Paschal Heating, Air & Geothermal.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about MERV filters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Paschal Heating, Air & Geothermal services Northwest Arkansas. Visit our website to see our special offers and get started today!