Air Filter MERV Ratings

What is a MERV?

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, is a scale that rates the effectiveness of air filters. Created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in 1987, air filter MERV ratings relate to the relative effectiveness of the filters they’re assigned to.

How Do MERV Ratings Work?

Filters are rated on two different performance factors as measured by testing both the upstream and downstream airflows of a given air-cleaning appliance. The first factor evaluated is how effective a filter is in removing large (greater than 1 micron in size) particles like pollen, pet dander, and byproducts from dust mites. The other factor is efficiency in filtering out particles less than 1 micron in size, such as smoke from cooking or tobacco, household dusts, bacteria, viruses, and even benzene gas. (As a matter of perspective, the eye of a needle (depending on the type of needle, of course) is somewhere in the 500-200 micron range.)

What is the Best MERV Rating for Your Needs?

Given that some 98 percent of all indoor air particles are under one micron in size, a filter’s ability to remove these minute yet potentially harmful specks is especially important when it will be used to improve the quality of indoor air.

Pleated Air Filters from HoodFilters.comFilters are rated from 1 to 20; the higher the rating, the better that filter works. For home or commercial use, ratings from MERV 8 to MERV 13 are suitable. This includes restaurant use as well; if you have a cigar lounge or otherwise need to filter out a lot of tobacco smoke, you should aim for the high end of the 8-13 range or perhaps even a 14.

More clinical settings where cleanliness is of utmost importance, such as in a hospital, might require filters with a MERV rating of 14 or higher, but anything past a 17 is really only necessary if it’s being used in a clean room or other demanding scientific or medical situation. Conversely, filters with a rating of 7 or less are generally considered to be substandard.

Should I Buy a MERV 20 Filter? (Hint: Probably Not)

While it might be tempting to think that using the highest rated filter available (in other words a MERV 20) is the best decision regardless of the situation, the more dense a filter is – and therefore the more effective it is at trapping the smallest particles – the more taxing it is to your air filtration system.

The harder your system is forced to work, the more maintenance it will need, the quicker it will ultimately wear out, and the more energy it will need in order to run. Choose the filter that is ideal for your restaurant or other facility – no more, no less. The higher your filter’s rating the more frequently you should be changing it out to avoid airflow becoming restricted by accumulated dust and other debris.

Have questions about MERV rating standards or need help selecting the most effective filter for your ventilation system? Visit or call 877.394.9731 to speak with a customer service specialist.

Having access to the internal mechanisms of a restaurant exhaust fan is an integral part of routine maintenance, cleaning, and repair. It’s also necessary for fire safety inspectors to have safe and easy access so they can ensure everything is up to code as specified by the National Fire Protection Association. Lastly, properly opening and closing the fan lessens the likelihood that damage could inadvertently occur to the fan bowl or seals.

Here we’ve outlined the safest ways to open and close upblast exhaust fans while ensuring both the safety of your employees and the safeguarding of your company’s – or your client’s – equipment.

Cut the Power

The very first thing to do is shut off power to the fan. This protects both the person accessing the fan and the fan itself. If you’re opening the fan in order to clean the blades and neglect to cut the power first, fast-moving parts can easily cause injury or damage to the fan.

Use an Exhaust Fan Safety Handle

Using an exhaust fan safety handle isn’t just easier, it’s also safer. Exhaust fan safety handles attach to the hinged lid of the fan’s outer hull. The handles are securely fixed and have a grooved grip; this combination works well to make opening the heavy lid an easier task and promotes a strong, secure hold.

The handle sticks out from the perimeter of the hull, which keeps fingers and hands clear of hinges and closures, as well as interior mechanisms that could catch clothing or skin. These handles can be purchased separately from and affixed to existing units.

See how quick and easy it is to install our exhaust fan safety handle in this video.

Install an Exhaust Fan Access Panel

The NFPA 96 Fire Code requires the installation of an exhaust fan access panel. However, even if this mandate didn’t exist, integrating this type of port into your fan is an ideal way to increase cleaning efficiency. This access panel allows employees or service technicians to inspect and work on components that may otherwise be hidden from view or be difficult to reach.

Kitchen exhaust hood and duct cleaning is faster and easier when you have the right equipment. Some of the most essential tools for hood cleaners are scrapers and blades. Not only are they the quickest way to get rid of accumulated grease buildup, they also help ensure that you have direct cleaning access to the entire system.

Kitchens with solid fuel cooking appliance are actually required by NFPA 96 fire codes to scrape clean the combustion chamber to its original surface at least once per week. But no matter what kind of cooking is done, a commercial kitchen exhaust system will eventually accumulate a dangerous amount of grease. And unless it is properly scraped and cleaned, it will eventually become a fire hazard.

With all steel construction and a durable comfort grip, our 4″ Heavy Duty Scraper can tackle the toughest hood cleaning jobs. It is available in a 13″ or 18″ length, features a steel end cap, and includes one heavy duty blade. Continue reading

Flame Gard Type II Hood Filter

Safety, performance, efficiency and code compliance are all important factors when selecting a hood filter. Reduce grease buildup in your hood system and help extinguish your chances of a grease fire by choosing the Flame Gard Type II hood filter as your kitchen’s first line of defense.

Unsurpassed Performance

The Flame Gard Type II is known for its unsurpassed grease capturing, flame blocking, and air flowing performance. It is an extremely durable baffle filter that never needs replacing. It offers trouble-free operation and is UL tested and classified, NSF listed, and meets NFPA 96 requirements.

Flame Gard Type II filters are constructed of high quality solid stainless steel and weigh about twice as much as comparable filters. They provide a positive flame barrier and are designed to handle high-heat, high grease applications. The filter maintains its structural integrity even when directly exposed to flames and can withstand temperatures in excess of 2200°F. Continue reading


Exhaust hoods are an essential investment in any commercial kitchen. The needs of a commercial kitchen place high demands on a hood capable of filtering out grease, dirt and other possible contaminants.

The most effective hoods are designed to incorporate other components to further increase the efficiency of your filtering system. Among these accessories are grease cups, also known as grease trays.

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TRINE Heavy Duty Aluminum Filter Made In USA

If you are looking for a hard working, premium, American made baffle grease filter, our Heavy Duty Aluminum Baffle Grease Filters from TRINE are the perfect choice.

Not only are they the most durable aluminum baffle grease filters available on the market; they are also lightweight, affordable, and provide dependable and positive flame barrier protection. Plus, the bright and shiny finish of these attractive filters makes them a great selection for kitchens with an open design.

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A kitchen ventilation system is as important to the safety and functioning of a commercial kitchen as the cooking appliances. The ventilation system maintains a balance between air that’s removed and fresh air that’s returned to the kitchen. It also offers built-in fire suppression features, ensuring the safety of everyone and everything in the workspace.

The process of ventilating a commercial kitchen is tricky. Air has to move through ductwork swiftly and efficiently. The placement of venting equipment requires thoughtful consideration because most industrial kitchens don’t have unused space.

The purpose of any kitchen ventilation system is to remove contaminates in the air by drawing them out through an exhaust fan. After contaminates are removed from the kitchen, fresh air from outside re-circulates back inside.

Since the upblast exhaust fan draws out contaminants, another system must bring fresh air back inside. The system that replaces extracted air is called a make-up air supply unit. It sucks up fresh air from outside and brings clean air inside. These two components are the most essential parts of a commercial kitchen ventilation system.

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When it comes to cultivating a safe commercial kitchen space, everyone knows that counters must be scrubbed down and food products need to be handled properly.

But maintaining your exhaust hood system is just as important – if not more so – than almost anything else on your to-do list. The question is, how do you know when your system needs to be cleaned?

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We live in a competitive society, and healthy competition is a great motivator for business. By keeping our eye on the competition we can learn a lot, borrow a little and strive for uniqueness to find our niche.

You can learn a lot from your biggest competitor by following their marketing through their newsletter, Facebook account and online advertising. Getting to know how your competitor attracts business can help you identify ways that you can position your own company in the restaurant services industry.

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Kitchen exhaust cleaning crews have an undeniably dirty job, but given the environment in which these skilled technicians work, it’s a field that’s also rife with hazards that include everything from a dangerous slip and fall to inhaling noxious chemicals.

Here are some tips to help prevent potential accidents and injuries.

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