Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and dimensions, and some have specs that others don't. In most instances we advise installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

All filters are classified with MERV ratings, which go from 1–20. MERV is short for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A larger rating indicates the filter can trap smaller particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer dust can become obstructed faster, raising pressure on your unit. If your unit isn’t made to run with this kind of filter, it may restrict airflow and create other issues.

Unless you live in a medical center, you more than likely don’t require a MERV level above 13. In fact, many residential HVAC systems are specifically made to work with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Sometimes you will find that quality systems have been designed to run with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should get many daily triggers, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we suggest having a professional eliminate mold as opposed to trying to conceal the trouble with a filter.

Often the packaging indicates how regularly your filter should be changed. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the extra cost.

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

While you could tempted to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your comfort unit. It’s very unrealistic your equipment was created to work with amount of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This equipment works alongside your HVAC system.