Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and dimensions, and some have specifications that others don't. In most situations we suggest getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer says to pair with your unit.

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

A larger ranking demonstrates the filter can catch more miniscule particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer dirt can become obstructed more quickly, raising pressure on your unit. If your unit isn’t created to run with this model of filter, it could reduce airflow and create other issues.

Unless you are in a medical center, you likely don’t require a MERV ranking greater than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC units are specifically made to work with a filter with a MERV level below 13. Frequently you will learn that quality systems have been designed to run with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should catch the majority of the daily triggers, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to trap mold spores, but we suggest having a professional eliminate mold as opposed to trying to hide the issue with a filter.

Usually the packaging indicates how often your filter should be exchanged. In our experience, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the added price.

Filters are manufactured from different materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters grab more dirt but may reduce your unit’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you may be interested in using a HEPA filter, remember that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your heating and cooling equipment. It’s very doubtful your unit was created to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This equipment works alongside your comfort system.