Air conditioning filter questions are very common to receive at an hvac company. Many people are unsure of exactly what their filter does, and many are not even aware that they have a filter which they should change! One of the most common questions which we receive is regarding MERV rated heating and air conditioning filters. These MERV filters have higher levels of protection and restrict the ability of particles to be transported through the hvac system. In a far majority of cases, these MERV rated filters are not generally recommended for traditional residential. The application of MERV rated filters are typically restricted to medical and industrial facilities which have strict air quality regulations.

Unfortunately, for these medical and industrial facilities, they are having difficulty acquiring the MERV-13 filters that they need due to increased demand. This increase in demand comes in part due to US Centers for Disease Control recommendations which were released in early May which says that office buildings and other indoor spaces should upgrade their air filters to MERV-13. This has put managers of those indoor spaces in the position to begin acquiring MERV-13 for the first time. While many larger hospitals and medical buildings have existing relationships which will help soften the blow of these supply shortage, many offices spaces and schools could be left without or facing longer than normal wait times to receive their products.

This could be crucial as more large spaces reopen throughout the country. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in July that malls in the state would be required to install MERV-13 filters before they would be allowed to reopen. Requirements like this one are playing a part in the overall supply shortage that is being experienced. Many in the filtration industry see this shortage as something which will only worse as the current climate continues. Most manufacturers have yet to increase their capacities due to what is seen as most likely a short-term increase in demand. Should this demand be sustained due to additional regulatory requirements, there could be a hindrance to some large indoor spaces as they attempt to reopen. Fortunately for homeowners, this filter shortage is not something which should directly impact their home air conditioning system.

MERV rated filters are typically not recommended for home air conditioning systems. Not only are they not necessary, but they can actually cause long-term damage to a residential system which could result in costly heating repairs in Chalfont. MERV filters are recommended for large spaces by the CDC due to their ability to restrict small particles from being passed through the system and recycled into air that returns to the space. The same restriction which prevents particles from passing through the filter, also prevents air from being pulled through the system. For large industrial and commercial sized systems this restriction is not an issue, but for residential heating and air conditioning systems, this restriction can be a large detriment. By restricting air flow to the system it can prevent the system from getting the right amount of air flow which can cause damage or system failure.

It will be interesting to follow the development of this supply shortage and whether it will impact the ability of some location to open. Many in the filtration industry are concerned that additional regulatory requirements could push supply shortages even further. Should the places which are required to have MERV-13 filters not able to acquire them, it could result in additional closure time as they work to meet regulation.