Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and measurements, and some have specifications that others don't. In most instances we recommend getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

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

A bigger value demonstrates the filter can catch more miniscule particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that catches finer dirt can become blocked more quickly, heightening pressure on your unit. If your unit isn’t designed to run with this model of filter, it could reduce airflow and lead to other issues.

Unless you are in a medical center, you likely don’t have to have a MERV ranking higher than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to work with a filter with a MERV ranking below 13. Frequently you will discover 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 common annoyance, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to trap mold spores, but we advise having a professional get rid of 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 created from different materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters trap more dirt but may reduce your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you may tempted to use a HEPA filter, know that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your comfort equipment. It’s very unrealistic your unit was created to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Kingston, think over adding a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This equipment works alongside your heating and cooling system.