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Restaurant Air Filters: The Basics

commercial ventilation air filters

Commercial kitchens can be harsh environments, which is why they need heavy-duty air filters capable of standing up to the conditions. You’ve got a lot to choose from and it’s important to not only know which ones you need but how to maintain them properly. Hoodmart not only carries all the ventilation equipment you need we also offer a range of air filters.

Understanding MERV ratings

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting value. It’s used as a scale that tells you what you need to know about how effective an air filter is. It was created by ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers), is widely accepted, and ranges from MERV 1 to MERV 16.

To get a MERV rating, air tests are completed at a variety of velocities. The engineers then determine what types of particles were trapped by the filter. They gather the data, analyze it, and assign a filter a MERV rating. This test also tells you how efficient filters are at tripping particles of varying sizes. Generally speaking, the higher the MERV rating, the more effective the filter will be on smaller particles.
Filters that get a MERV 1 rating are the least efficient option and generally used in very light-duty residential environments. MERV 16 are the most effective filters no the market and are used in hyper-sensitive areas, most notably in surgical rooms.

The difference between pleated air filters and flat air filters

Many HVAC setups use disposable air filters that are manufactured from spun fiberglass and are on the lower end of the MERV rating scale. They are effective at basic functions but don’t work against tiny particles that you’ll often see in commercial kitchens.

A pleated air filter is manufactured from either polyester, cotton, or a blend. They’re folded to ensure the surface area is larger to catch grime and dust, and they’re typically put into stronger cases compared to the fiberglass options described above. This increases both their lifespan and their cost. For the most part, a pleated air filter is going to earn a higher MERV rating. Typical ranges for this type of filter are MERV 6 to MERV 13.

Get advice from the experts

The right type of filter for your needs will vary based on a wide range of factors. If you have questions about which option to purchase, you can always reach out to Hoodmart. We understand that your goal is to find the right balance between efficiency and cost.

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