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 cases we suggest getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your unit.

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

A larger ranking indicates the filter can grab finer particles. This sounds good, but a filter that stops finer substances can clog more quickly, increasing pressure on your system. If your system isn’t created to function with this type of filter, it might decrease airflow and create other troubles.

Unless you are in a medical center, you more than likely don’t need a MERV rating higher than 13. In fact, many residential HVAC systems are specifically engineered to work with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Frequently you will discover that quality systems have been engineered to work with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should catch the majority of the common annoyance, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can trap mold spores, but we suggest having a professional get rid of mold rather than trying to hide the trouble with a filter.

Usually the packaging demonstrates how often your filter should be exchanged. In our experience, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the added cost.

Filters are manufactured from varying materials, with single-use fiberglass filters being the most common. Polyester and pleated filters trap more dust but may decrease your unit’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you might want to use a HEPA filter, know that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC unit. It’s very unlikely your system was created to run with amount of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality. This unit works alongside your heating and cooling system.