Your Guide to Understanding HVAC Air Filter Selection and Ratings
Your Guide to Understanding HVAC Air Filter Selection and Ratings

Your Guide to Understanding HVAC Air Filter Selection and Ratings


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Effective air filtration delivers primary defense for commercial building occupants as well as HVAC equipment against any pollutants often generated within the building and from the air drawn from the HVAC system. That is the main reason why it is crucial to select the right HVAC air filter. The simplest HVAC air filter makes a huge difference in the building’s energy costs, IAQ, and the HVAC system’s performance.

Air filters exist to keep the parts inside the air handler much cleaner and running smoothly. The performance of filters commonly indicated by their ratings. Higher ratings indicate that the filter is much more effective at holding and trapping smaller airborne particles. With today’s higher standards when it comes to air filtration, it’s possible to provide purer, cleaner air and minimize indoor air quality (IAQ) problems.

Here is a guide for you to further understand HVAC filter considerations, different filter ratings and so on.

. The MPR system uses a numerical scale where higher numbers indicate better filtration. The scale under this rating system, however, uses larger numbers. Also, the basic filter is often rated at one-hundred, while the most efficient filter is rated at 2800. 

The MPR-2800 is qualified as a MERV-14, which only means that the best MPR filter doesn’t qualify when it comes to the highest MERV rating. Filters that have MERV rating have always been the very first choice. 

Recognizing ASHRAE HVAC Standards for Air Filters


Depending on the particle size and the method the test was performed, the manufacturers may easily skew efficiency results. That is why they need to consider these variables when choosing a filter:

  • Temperature limitations – how a filter performs at certain application temperatures
  • Moisture resistance – how high moisture and humidity affect the filters
  • Flammability – how a filter functions in flammability tests

Furthermore, to help HVAC contractors like you who specify filtration systems for renovation or new projects, ASHRAE developed and issued the following:

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