Are all HVAC air filters the same?

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

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

A larger ranking means the filter can grab more miniscule substances. This sounds great, but a filter that catches finer dust can become obstructed faster, heightening pressure on your system. If your unit isn’t created to work with this type of filter, it could decrease airflow and create other issues.

Unless you live in a medical center, you more than likely don’t have to have a MERV ranking greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC equipment is specifically made to operate with a filter with a MERV ranking below 13. Occasionally you will find that good systems have been made to operate with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should get many everyday triggers, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can stop mold spores, but we suggest having a professional eliminate mold instead of trying to mask the issue with a filter.

Sometimes the packaging indicates how frequently your filter should be replaced. In our experience, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the added expense.

Filters are made from differing materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters catch more dirt but may decrease your equipment’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 heating and cooling unit. It’s highly doubtful your system was made to work with amount of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality. This equipment works along with your comfort system.