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When the Air Filter in the Store Doesn't Have MERV on the Box, What Do You Do?From Auburn Hills to Rochester Hills, homeowners have been confused by what appears to be a new rating on the air filters sold by some retailers. There’s only one thing to do when the box in the store doesn’t show a MERV value: walk away without making a purchase. Here’s why.

Understanding MERV

“MERV” is the acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, the industry-standard scale which rates air filters’ effectiveness. MERV is the go-to measure by which manufacturers, installers and consumers judge performance. It was instated more than a quarter-century ago by ASHRAE — the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers — and is both accurate and consistent.

Importance of Ratings

The performance of the air filter(s) in your whole-house HVAC system has two major impacts:

  • Particulates that can cause abrasion inside your air mover (sometimes called the blower) are largely removed before they reach that appliance. This extends the working life of your equipment, and minimizes the need for maintenance.
  • Pollutants that can aggravate allergy sufferers, people with asthma and with pulmonary illnesses are also largely removed. This function improves indoor air quality, making life healthier for everyone.

Installing the wrong air filter, then, can be a very bad idea.

Pretenders to the Throne

Some air filters are marketed without MERV values; instead, their manufacturers refer to a scale they’ve named “FPR,” or Filter Performance Rating.  While MERV is a universal rating established, and adhered to, by almost the entire HVAC industry, FPR is a sales ploy. It is not an equivalent.

In an effort to sell their product, these manufacturers have chosen higher numbers to describe FPR than are used to MERV-rate filters. Higher numbers convey better function, so they charge more. But the scales are not comparable, thus neither are the products. Confused consumers can end up paying more money for less effective products.

To avoid falling for this, and then suffering the mechanical and environmental consequences of using a deficient air filter, consult with Aladdin Heating & Cooling. Our expert technicians serve all of southeast Michigan, and are all fully up-to-date on this and other deceptive practices.

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

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