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 using the filter your HVAC manufacturer says to pair 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 value indicates the filter can grab finer particles. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer substances can clog more quickly, increasing pressure on your system. If your system isn’t designed to function with this model of filter, it might decrease airflow and create other troubles.

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

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should catch the majority of the common triggers, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can stop mold spores, but we suggest having a professional eliminate mold rather than trying to hide the problem with a filter.

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

Filters are created from varying materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being the most common. Polyester and pleated filters trap more dirt 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, remember that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC equipment. It’s very unlikely your system was created to work with level of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Dayton, consider adding a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works alongside your comfort system.