Understanding the Benefits of MERV and FPR Ratings for Residential Air Filtration

When it comes to residential air filtration, selecting the right filter is essential. Filters with MERV ratings between 12 and 16 are highly efficient and effective, offering a good balance between air filtration, airflow, and affordability. This range is especially suitable for people who live with pets. For most residences, a MERV rating between 6 and 13 is usually enough.

If you choose an air filter with a MERV 13 rating, it can last up to six months before needing to be replaced. It is important to note that chemical disinfectants should only be applied with the air conditioning system turned off. In addition, disinfectants should not be applied to ventilation filters before continuing to use them within ventilation systems. The effects of disinfectants on filter performance are unknown. Filters should only be treated with disinfectants if they are going to be removed from service and discarded. UV systems are quite effective at maintaining the cleanliness of HVAC coils, drain trays, and other damp surfaces.

Properly designed systems can provide significant doses of UV in a short period of time, resulting in a single-pass inactivation efficiency of 85%, much like that of a good particulate filter. Systems can also be designed for inactivation greater than 99.9%.A well-designed UV air disinfection system within an HVAC system and located next to the cooling coils can also provide surface disinfecting benefits. Alternatively, UV systems can be installed in an “aerial” configuration, using wall-mounted accessories to create an irradiated area above the occupant and disinfect the air in the space as it circulates naturally, mechanically or through the HVAC system. Mobile UV systems are frequently used for cleaning terminals and disinfecting surfaces in health centers and other spaces. These systems are normally used in unoccupied spaces due to concerns about occupant exposure.

All three types of systems may be relevant, depending on the type of building and the individual spaces within the building. When selecting an air filter for residential buildings, it is important to consider both the MERV rating and the capabilities of your HVAC system. Some filters have both an FPR and a MERV rating, and at least one with an FPR of 10 appears equivalent to MERV-8 or MERV-13. If a filter with a MERV rating of 13 or higher cannot be accommodated in the system without increasing resistance, it is best to use the highest possible MERV rating so as not to compromise the functionality of the air conditioning system. Newer units shouldn't have airflow problems with higher MERV ratings, although older models can work harder with a MERV 13 filter installed than when they originally had a MERV 6 filter in the air intake.


air filters provide even additional filtering power against fine particles compared to MERV 11 filters.

Heidi Oertel
Heidi Oertel

Wannabe explorer. General web ninja. Certified travel fan. Amateur tv scholar. Infuriatingly humble social media scholar.

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