Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and dimensions, and some have features that others don't. In most instances we advise using the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your system.

All filters are assigned MERV ratings, which go from 1–20. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A larger ranking demonstrates the filter can catch finer particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer substances can become obstructed faster, heightening pressure on your equipment. If your unit isn’t created to run with this model of filter, it may lower airflow and cause other troubles.

Unless you reside in a hospital, you probably don’t have to have a MERV level higher than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC systems are specifically made to run with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Frequently you will learn that quality systems have been engineered to run with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should catch the majority of the daily nuisances, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can trap mold spores, but we advise having a professional eliminate mold as opposed to trying to conceal the issue with a filter.

Usually the packaging demonstrates how frequently your filter should be changed. From what we know, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the additional price.

Filters are created from different materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being standard. Polyester and pleated filters catch more dirt but may limit your system’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you might tempted to use a HEPA filter, know that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC unit. It’s extremely doubtful your unit was made to run with amount of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality. This unit works along with your comfort system.