What MERV Ratings Don’t Measure: Your Health

You’ve probably noticed the MERV number that appears on air filter packaging, with the larger numbers priced higher. But most people don’t realize that higher numbers don’t mean better quality or better air quality protection.

The truth is, the MERV system of rating air filters wasn’t created for consumers, and it cares more about your air conditioning unit than your healthy lungs. Yes, really!

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) ratings system was invented in 1987 by ASHRAE with the goal of protecting HVAC equipment from big chunks of dust and dirt that can prevent it from running properly – or worse, damage the system. The MERV scale of 1-20 is intended to measure the effectiveness of capturing particulates on the scale of nanometers. So for instance a MERV 8 should allow most HVAC systems to filter out Pet Dander (5,000nm), Mold (4,000nm), Pollen (3,000nm), and Dust Mites (2,500nm).

MERV 13, the highest rating for most consumer HVAC unit filters, doesn’t even capture particles smaller than 300 nanometers! That’s just 50% of what’s in the air you breathe, and it isn’t rated to filter viruses like Zika (45nm), Influenza (70nm), or COVID-19 (100nm).

That’s why Nano filters are tested by the same laboratory company that does medical-grade masks to ensure that the material provides a high level of protection from outside pollutants, viruses, bacteria, and many other harmful nanoparticles. In other words? Nano MERV 13+ filters are made for your health.