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air conditioning filer comparison

The Ultimate Air Conditioning Filter Comparison: MERV vs HEPA

The Ultimate air conditioning Filter Comparison: MERV vs HEPA




Most people don’t have a second thought about the filters in their air conditioning system. Let alone knowing what filters they have in their unit. Now is the time to start caring! Why? According to the EPA, indoor air is two to five times worse than the air outdoors.

What Is An Air Conditioner Filter?

The filter in your air conditioning cleans impurities from the air. Air is circulated through the system, passes the filter, and re-enters the room after being purified. This is highly beneficial to those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory symptoms.

There are many different types of filters in the market with different levels of filtration.

What Is A MERV Filter?

MERV stands for ‘Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value’. This is a scale that shows the effectiveness of filters at removing particles of different sizes. The higher the number, the more particles the filter catches! As a reference, the ratings go from 1 (low) to 16 (exceptionally high filtration) *.

The following graph visualises what types of pollutants are caught at each stage of ‘MERV’.

Some filters on the higher end of ‘MERV’ can even remove smaller particles and biological growth such as bacteria, cooking oil, sneeze and cough particles. This is particular helpful for those who suffer from respiratory concerns and allergies.

For example: The MERV-13 Filter catches up to 90% of particles in the range of 1-3 µm range i.e. where PM2.5 exists.

*MERV values are not standard which means these numbers will vary with each brand. Brand A – MERV rating of 13 may be able to remove pet dander whereas Brand B – MERV rating of 13 may not be able to.


What Is A HEPA Filter?

HEPA filters are generally known as the best of the best of air filtrations. All HEPA filters must be able to trap particles at 0.3 µm. (For reference, the average strand of hair is around 40 microns.) HEPA filters generally require an additional fan to operate effectively. Additionally, not all HVAC systems are compatible with HEPA filters as a system needs to produce enough power to move air through a HEPA filter.

So, Which Filter Is The Best?

Generally, all air filters can remove dust from the air. The best air filter really depends on what is required in your home. A home that needs to cater to someone with asthma will have different requirements to a typical home without respiratory concerns.


Within a typical home, we recommend MERV-13 as it strikes the right balance between efficient filtering and adequate airflow. Filters in lower MERV ratings cannot catch contaminants on a smaller scale that can affect asthma, allergies, or any other respiratory concerns. For example, a MERV-8 doesn’t filter out smog, smoke, virus carriers, cooking oil, and cough and sneeze particles. Additionally, MERV filters with higher ratings are unnecessary as they are generally used in hospitals where clean air is a must.


A HEPA filter is only recommended when the highest level of filtration is required due to chronic illness, concerns of disease-spreading organisms, or regulatory requirements.

If you’re considering a filter upgrade, contact your HVAC technicians to discuss what the best filter is for your home or office.

Contact Our Indoor Air Quality Experts Today

If you are looking for ways to improve your indoor air quality the answer is simple, contact us. Let our team of experts inspect your home and ensure that your heating and cooling equipment is free from mould, dust mites, radon, allergens, and other harmful substances. We will evaluate the condition of your system and provide you with a tailored service based on its requirements and your family’s concerns.

Call us on (02) 8061 5023 to make a booking with our licensed and trained HVAC technicians today.


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