Understanding MERV Ratings and How They Impact Indoor Air Quality During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we think about indoor air quality. With the virus being spread through airborne transmission, it is more important than ever to understand the different ways to improve air quality in our homes and businesses. One of the most important factors in improving indoor air quality is understanding MERV ratings and how they can help reduce the risk of airborne transmission of the virus. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it is a rating system used to measure the effectiveness of air filters.

The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing particles from the air. The ratings range from 1 to 16, with 1 being the least efficient and 16 being the most efficient. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a MERV 13 filter or higher to reduce the risk of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.A MERV 13 filter is capable of capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is small enough to capture most virus particles.

Types of Air Filters

There are several types of air filters available on the market today, each with their own MERV rating.

The most common types are fiberglass filters, which have a MERV rating of 5-8, and pleated filters, which have a MERV rating of 11-14.Higher-MERV filters are also available, such as those rated at 15 or 16, but these are typically used in commercial settings or for special applications.

Benefits of High-MERV Filters

Using a high-MERV filter can provide several benefits when it comes to improving indoor air quality. These filters are more effective at capturing particles from the air, including virus particles, which can help reduce the risk of airborne transmission. High-MERV filters also help reduce smoke, smog, and other pollutants from entering your home or business.

Drawbacks of High-MERV Filters

While high-MERV filters can be beneficial in improving indoor air quality, there are some drawbacks to using them as well. These filters can be more expensive than lower-MERV filters and may need to be replaced more often due to their higher efficiency. Additionally, high-MERV filters can restrict airflow in HVAC systems, which can lead to decreased efficiency and increased energy costs.

Other Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

In addition to using high-MERV filters, there are several other ways to improve indoor air quality during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include increasing ventilation practices such as opening windows and doors for cross breezes or using fans to increase airflow; using portable or ceiling air purifiers; using single-unit air conditioners that recirculate filtered air; and avoiding large gatherings where possible.


Indoor air quality is an important factor in reducing the risk of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding MERV ratings and how they impact indoor air quality can help you make informed decisions about what type of filter to use in your home or business. Additionally, there are several other ways to improve indoor air quality such as increasing ventilation practices and using portable or ceiling air purifiers.

Conrad Sobczyk
Conrad Sobczyk

Award-winning beer aficionado. Wannabe burrito evangelist. Hipster-friendly pop culture practitioner. Total coffee trailblazer. Incurable zombie specialist. Hardcore webaholic.

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