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Which Is Better: HEPA vs. MERV FIlters

Published: March 15, 2022

It is often an easy thing to forget — changing your HVAC filter. It is not done often, maybe once or twice a year, but it is important. You probably take out the old filter to see what kind and size it is, head to your local hardware store, and just buy the same thing to replace it, but that is not always the best option. Did you know air filters are not all created the same and can actually have very different benefits? Let’s learn more about air filters and the difference between HEPA and MERV filters


There are two kinds of standard-rated filters for residential air conditioning units — HEPA and MERV. Both will remove impurities from the air, but they are very different. You have probably heard of HEPA filters. These are found in air purifiers, too. Most residential HVAC systems are compatible with MERV filters, though. 

What Is A HEPA Filter

HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. These filters are said to remove 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, and even viruses and bacteria from the air in your home. HEPA filters can be very fine so some HVAC systems might not be able to circulate enough air through them. You will need to review your HVAC system to see if it is compatible with a HEPA filter. 

What Is A MERV Filter

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and has a rating of 1 to 16. The higher the number, the finer and better the filtration capability is. To get the most out of a MERV filter, it is best to get a rating of 13 or higher to filter out viruses and other smaller impurities. Unfortunately, most residential HVAC units can not handle the low airflow with a MERV 13 or higher filter. Check your system. It might only be compatible with a MERV 8 or MERV 9 filter. 

Which Is Better

When it comes down to it, HEPA filters are better for filtering out impurities but both HEPA and MERV filters will cause strain on your HVAC system if it is not compatible and able to handle the airflow. If your HVAC system can not support a HEPA filter, you can upgrade or get a portable air purifier that does support a HEPA filter. 

Keep Your HVAC Running Smoothly

No matter what filter your HVAC system can support, it will not make a difference if the system is not working properly. To keep your system running in tip-top shape, contact Service Tech, Inc. Heating and Air Conditioning today! Our expert team members work in a professional and timely manner. We also offer 24/7 emergency service.

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