How Your Air Filter MERV Rating Can Eliminate Pesky Home Odors

Are you tired of constantly searching for new ways to get rid of those pesky odors in your home? Look no further than your air filter! That's right, the MERV rating of your air filter can have a huge impact on eliminating unwanted smells.

The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating measures the effectiveness of an air filter. The higher the rating, the better the filter is at trapping small particles such as pet dander, pollen, and yes, even odor-causing particles. So, if you want to improve your indoor air quality and eliminate unpleasant odors, upgrading your air filter is a simple solution.

Don't settle for a home that smells less than fresh. Make the most out of your air filter and enjoy a cleaner, more pleasant-smelling home. Keep reading to learn more about air filter MERV ratings and their impact on indoor air quality.

What is a MERV Rating and How Does it Affect Indoor Air Quality?

A MERV rating is a measurement of the effectiveness of an air filter in capturing particles in the air. The acronym MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It is a rating system that was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to help consumers determine the effectiveness of air filters.

The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 16, with higher numbers indicating better filtration. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles that the air filter can trap. A MERV rating of 1 means the filter is least effective in capturing particles while a MERV rating of 16 means that the air filter can capture even the tiniest particles.

A filter's MERV rating directly affects indoor air quality. The quality of the air you breathe at home depends on the particles in the air. These particles are released from different sources such as pets, cooking, and even building materials. Removing these pollutants from the air means cleaner and healthier indoor air.

When the air filter has a lower MERV rating, it captures fewer particles. Smaller particles such as dust mites, pollen, and mold spores can pass through the filter and into the indoor air, causing allergens and respiratory problems. On the other hand, an air filter with a higher MERV rating captures more particles, including microscopic allergens and bacteria. This feature makes higher MERV rated air filters ideal for households with asthma and allergy sufferers.

In conclusion, a MERV rating is a crucial factor in eliminating pesky home odors and maintaining good indoor air quality. Investing in an air filter with a higher MERV rating can help maintain a healthier living environment for you and your family.

Identifying Common Household Odors and Their Sources

Certain smells can make your home uncomfortable and unpleasant, and identifying their sources can help you eliminate them from your living space altogether. Here are some common household odors and their sources:

1. Cooking odors: From the smell of frying or baking, cooking odors can come from the kitchen and spread throughout the house. They can be caused by a variety of foods, such as onions or fish. To eliminate these smells, open windows, turn on the stove vent, and use natural air fresheners like cinnamon or lemon.

2. Pet odors: From urine or feces, pet odors can be quite pungent and stay in the air for a long time. To eliminate these smells, regularly bathe your pets and clean their bedding. Also, vacuum, mop, and wash all surfaces they come in contact with.

3. Musty smells: From damp areas like basements or bathrooms, musty smells can be caused by mold or mildew. To eliminate these smells, fix any leaks or water damage, increase ventilation, and use dehumidifiers if necessary.

4. Smoke or fire damage: From cigarettes or fires, these smells can penetrate deep into fabrics and other surfaces. To eliminate these smells, clean all surfaces thoroughly, wash fabrics in hot water with vinegar, and use an air purifier to remove any remaining smoke particles.

5. Chemical odors: From cleaning products or paint, chemical odors can be quite harsh and cause respiratory problems. To eliminate these smells, use natural cleaning products or paint with low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

By identifying the source of household odors, you can better address and eliminate them to make your home more comfortable and inviting.

3. Choosing the right air filter MERV rating for odor elimination

When it comes to eliminating pesky home odors, you don't want to mess around with a low-quality air filter. It's important to choose an air filter with a high MERV rating to effectively capture and eliminate odors.

For odor elimination, look for an air filter with a MERV rating of at least 8. However, for even better odor elimination, consider a filter with a MERV rating of 11 or higher.

But MERV rating alone is not enough. You also need to choose an air filter specifically designed to eliminate odors. Luckily, this is easy to do. Look for an air filter with activated carbon.

Activated carbon is a highly absorbent material that is excellent for capturing and eliminating odors. The activated carbon in the air filter pulls odors out of the air and traps them in the filter. This means that the air you breathe is fresher and cleaner.

Choosing the right air filter MERV rating and material can make a big difference in your home's air quality. By choosing an air filter with a high MERV rating and activated carbon, you'll enjoy a fresher, more pleasant smelling home.

Additional Tips for Reducing Household Odors

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces is an effective way to reduce household odors. Most often, household odors arise from surfaces that have been contaminated with bacteria, mold, or mildew. Regular cleaning using disinfectants helps to rid the surfaces of these contaminants and keep your home smelling fresh.

Using natural odor eliminators like baking soda or vinegar is another way to reduce household odors. These natural substances are highly effective at neutralizing odors without the harmful effects of chemicals found in most air fresheners. You can sprinkle baking soda on carpets or upholstery, and leave it for a few hours before vacuuming it up. Vinegar can be used to clean surfaces, or added to your laundry as a fabric softener.

Maintaining proper ventilation in the home is important in reducing odors caused by cooking or other activities that release pollutants into the air. Proper ventilation helps to remove the pollutants and improve indoor air quality. You can achieve this by opening windows or using exhaust fans in areas like the kitchen and bathroom.

By incorporating these additional tips into your household cleaning routine, along with using an air filter with a higher MERV rating, you can effectively reduce pesky home odors and keep your home smelling fresh and clean.

Conclusion: Improving indoor air quality for a healthier home

If you're suffering from pesky home odors, improving your indoor air quality should be at the top of your to-do list. By choosing an air filter with a higher MERV rating, you can effectively remove pollutants, allergens, and unpleasant odors from your home’s air. With a cleaner, healthier living environment, you'll breathe easier and enjoy a better quality of life.

But that’s not all. You can also improve your indoor air quality by opening windows, using a dehumidifier, and investing in an air purifier. Additionally, keeping your home clean and free of clutter can help reduce dust and other airborne particles that can lead to odors and allergies.

It's important to remember that indoor air quality affects us all, especially those with allergies or respiratory issues. By taking the necessary steps to improve the air quality in your home, you'll breathe easier and lead a happier, healthier life. So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!


Choosing the right air filter with the appropriate MERV rating can do wonders in eliminating pesky home odors. By capturing smaller particles that contribute to unpleasant smells, you not only improve the overall air quality of your home, but also promote better respiratory health for you and your loved ones. Remember to check your air filter regularly and replace it as needed to ensure maximum effectiveness. With a little bit of effort and attention to detail, you can easily achieve a fresher, more inviting home environment.

Frequently Asked Question

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value - a scale created by ASHRAE to measure the effectiveness of filters in removing different sized particles. For example, a MERV-13 filter is designed to catch 90% of particles 3-10 µm in size, 85% of particles 1-3 µm in size (PM2.5), and 50% of particles 0.3-1 µm in size. Generally, filters with higher MERV ratings are better at catching higher percentages of particles, including the smaller ones.

When you install a filter in the airstream, it will create resistance. The amount of resistance depends on the type of filter material and the amount of area it covers. Standard fiberglass filters don’t generate much resistance, though it increases as the filter gets dirtier. To remove more pollutants from the air, you can use a filter with a different material such as a high MERV filter. These filters have smaller pores, which allow them to catch more pollutants, but also create higher resistance.

The problem with this is that the blower and furnace are only designed to handle a certain amount of pressure drop. Too much resistance means the air flow is low, making the heat exchanger get hotter and potentially crack. On the plus side, low air flow can result in better dehumidification in humid climates, as long as the air flow isn’t so low that it turns the condensate to ice.

So, the answer to the question is: yes, higher MERV filters are better, but you need to find the right balance between air flow, resistance, and effectiveness.

Air filters are designed to capture airborne particles, which can be anything from dust and pollen to mold spores and bacteria. The filter works by drawing air through itself and trapping the particles in the web of fibers that make up the filter.

What are the types of air filters

There are many different types of air filters available on the market. The type of filter you need will depend on the specific needs of your facility. Some common types of air filters include MERV, HEPA, activated carbon, and ultraviolet (UV) germicidal irradiation.

MERV: MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. MERV ratings range from MERV-0 to MERV-16. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing particles.

HEPA: HEPA filters are a type of air filter that is designed to capture very small particles. A true HEPA filter has a MERV rating of 17-20.

Activated carbon: Activated carbon filters are designed to remove gases and odors from the air.

UV germicidal irradiation: UV germicidal irradiation is a type of light that is used to kill bacteria and viruses.

There are pleated filters and panel filters. MERV 13 filters are pleated, while MERV 16 filters can be either pleated or panel. Pleated filters have more surface area because they are made up of multiple layers of filter media. The pleats create more space for the air to flow through, and the more layers of filter media there are, the more particles can be captured.

HEPA filters are usually pleated, but they can also be panel.

What are the differences between MERV 13 vs HEPA filters

While MERV 13 and HEPA filters both remove particles from the air, they work in different ways.

MERV 13 filters are designed to remove particles that are larger than 0.30 microns, while HEPA filters are designed to remove particles that are smaller than 0.30 microns. MERV 13 filters are often used in commercial and industrial settings, while HEPA filters are often used in hospitals and other medical settings.

MERV 13 filters are more efficient at removing large particles from the air, while HEPA filters are more efficient at removing small particles from the air. MERV 13 filters can remove up to 99.97% of particles from the air, while HEPA filters can remove up to 99.99% of particles from the air.

MERV 13 filters are less expensive than HEPA filters, and they can be used in a wider variety of settings. However, HEPA filters are more effective at removing small particles from the air, and they can be used in settings where MERV 13 filters cannot.

MERV and HEPA filters both work to capture airborne particles, but they do so in different ways. MERV 13 filters are designed to capture particles larger than 0.30 microns, while HEPA filters are designed to capture particles smaller than 0.30 microns. MERV 13 filters are more efficient at removing large particles from the air, while HEPA filters are better at capturing small particles. 

MERV 13 filters are less expensive and can be used in a wider variety of settings, but they can only remove up to 99.97% of particles from the air. On the other hand, HEPA filters are more expensive but can remove up to 99.99% of particles, making them ideal for medical settings. In short, MERV 13 filters are great for everyday use, while HEPA filters are better for specialized environments.

Your HVAC system includes a furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump. It's essential to keep these systems clean and efficient by regularly replacing the air filters. To do this, you'll need to know about MERV ratings.

The air filter in your HVAC system serves two key functions: it protects your system from dust, and it helps clean the air in your home. When the filter is clogged, dust can build up in the system, and the equipment may overheat and fail.

How often the air filter needs to be changed depends on your home's size, where you live, and if you have pets. Inspect it every month, and replace it when you can't see the filter material through the dust.

When choosing an air filter, refer to the specifications of your HVAC system to determine the size. The MERV scale is used to measure the filter's ability to remove particles from the air, and ratings range from 1 to 20, with lower ratings meaning lower-quality filters.

Remember to balance air cleaning with air flow when upgrading your filter to a higher MERV rating. Too dense of a filter can cause air flow restriction and harm your system. Ask your HVAC technician for advice when in doubt.

Replacing the air filter is easy. Open the blower compartment located between the air return and the furnace or air handler. Put the used filter in a plastic bag, then insert the new filter with the arrows pointing in the direction of the airflow.

MERV 11 filters used to be thought of as air flow restrictors, but this is no longer necessarily the case. Home Energy's 2009 experimental test concluded that the pressure drop of high-MERV filters isn't as severe as it used to be. If you're renting and don't have any special needs, then a standard, cheap fiberglass filter with a cardboard frame is fine to use every three months. But if you own your home, then it's worth investing in a more durable filter.

Pleated filters with more pleats per foot are the better option and should be more effective at improving indoor air quality. However, the price can be an issue. A standard 16x25x1 11 MERV filter will cost around $5, but you can save a bit if you buy them in packs of 12. Filtrete, Purolator, and Nordic Pure are all trusted brands.

If you plan to buy washable filters, be aware that cheaper models may have loose filter media after washing and won't perform as well. Disposable filters are also more hygienic since they remove all the dirt from the air. Keep in mind that the more pleats per foot, the better the filter will be.

So, when it comes to MERV 11, the issue of air flow restriction isn't as big as it used to be. With the right filter, you can improve your indoor air quality without having to worry about a pressure drop. Make sure to replace your filter every three months for the best performance.

MERV ratings are used to compare filters to determine which is most effective for eliminating pollutants in a home or office. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) developed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) system to measure how well an air filter captures common airborne particles. There are 16 MERV values, ranging from 1 to 16, and the efficiency increases with the MERV number.

Filters are tested against 12 size ranges of particles, with the smallest being around 0.3 microns and the largest around 10 microns. To give a sense of the size, a micron is one millionth of a meter and a strand of human hair is approximately 75 to 100 microns.

The MERV rating is determined by measuring the particle count upstream and downstream of the filter being tested over six intervals, beginning with a clean filter. Afterward, a special ASHRAE test dust is added for five additional measurement cycles. The filter’s performance is determined by calculating the particle density before and after passing through the filter, and then assigning a MERV rating.

The MERV 8 filter is the most common filter in the U.S. Understanding how MERV ratings work can help you understand why it's so popular and how to choose the most beneficial filter for your needs.