How to Increase Ventilation in Buildings with MERV Filters
You can’t perfect your environment with imperfect air quality, and when it comes to air filters, not all are created equally. Read on to learn how you can increase ventilation in buildings using MERV air filters (plus a few extra tips!)
What are MERV Filter Ratings?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value; it’s a system that evaluates the efficiency of air filters based on how well they catch particles of various sizes, such as dust and other contaminants, and prevent them from passing through the filter into a building’s air stream.
Essentially, the higher the MERV rating, the higher the air filtration capabilities of that air filter. An air filter MERV rating ranges from 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest level of filtration. For commercial HVAC needs, we recommend at a minimum, a MERV 13 filter for a superior commercial option to combat bacteria, smoke, sneezes, and other contaminants.
If you want to ensure your indoor air quality is pristine, a MERV 20 filter will be the most premium solution, which is why it’s often used in settings including surgical operating rooms. More than likely, a MERV 13 filter will suffice; in fact, when selecting a MERV filter, it’s much better to go with the appropriately rated MERV filter so as not to impair its performance.
Environmental Benefits of High-Quality MERV Filters
As we’ve learned all too well over the past year, particle filtration often presents better health benefits, including:
- Lowered concentrations of infectious airborne particles
- Greater effectiveness against allergy and asthma symptoms
- Reductions in morbidity and mortality
9 Additional Tips to Improve Air Quality
- Increase outdoor air ventilation, using caution in highly polluted areas.
- When weather conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors. Don’t open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk, such as inviting a risk of falling or triggering asthma symptoms to occupants in the building.
- Use fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows. To safely achieve this, fan placement is important and will vary based on room configuration. Avoid placing fans in such a way that could potentially cause contaminated air to flow directly from one person over another. One helpful strategy is to use a window fan, placed safely and securely in a window, to exhaust room air to the outdoors. This will help draw fresh air into the room via other open windows and doors without generating strong room air currents.
- Decrease occupancy in areas where outdoor ventilation cannot be increased.
- Ensure building ventilation systems operate properly and provide acceptable indoor air quality for the current occupancy level for each space.
- Increase airflow to occupied spaces when possible.
- Turn off any Demand-Controlled Ventilation (DCV) controls that reduce air supply based on occupancy or temperature during occupied hours. In homes and buildings where the HVAC fan can be controlled at the thermostat, set the fan to the “on” position instead of the “auto,” which will operate the fan continuously, even when heating or air conditioning is not required.
- Open outdoor air dampers beyond minimum settings to reduce or eliminate HVAC air recirculation. In mild weather, this won’t affect thermal comfort or humidity. However, this may be difficult to do in cold, hot, or humid weather.
- To improve central air filtration:
- Increase air filtration to as high as possible without significantly reducing design airflow.
- Inspect filter housing and racks to ensure appropriate filter fit and check for ways to minimize filter bypass.
Perfect Your Environment with MERV Filters
Choosing the right MERV filter is essential to perfecting your building’s environment, and you don’t have to do it alone! To ensure you’re using the right commercial air filter, contact Air Stream today at (516) 747-4700.