Ashrae Standards

Written by Norene Anderson
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ASHRAE standards are established to provide an industry standard for all types of equipment. ASHRAE (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers) sets specific standards for products such as air conditioners, compressors, air handling equipment, dehumidifiers, heat pumps, HVAC systems, and filters.

Have you ever thought about what it would be like if you went shopping in one store and a size eight shoe fit perfectly and you went to another and a size two was the perfect fit? Without consistency, much confusion would exist in trying to find a pair of shoes. The same is true with comparing or shopping for air filters. Without some kind of standard, it is impossible to find the best price on the same quality filter.

Strict ASHRAE Standards

The purpose of ASHRAE standards is to do just that. Filters that are submitted to independent testing labs are subjected to controlled testing to determine the air efficiency and particulate retention of the filters. They are then given a rating known as MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) based on the size of particulate being tested.

Based on ASHRAE standards, a MERV value can be assigned from one to 12 for home use. Values above 12 are for industrial, healthcare, or scientific applications and are not recommended for home use. The MERV rating makes it possible to shop around for the best price comparing systems that are equal in performance. And, while many filters are equal in meeting necessary MERV ratings, some even exceed these ratings.

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