Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and dimensions, and some have features that others don't. In most situations we suggest installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer says to pair with your equipment.

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

A higher value demonstrates the filter can grab more miniscule particulates. This sounds great, but a filter that catches finer substances can become obstructed more quickly, raising pressure on your system. If your unit isn’t designed to function with this kind of filter, it can reduce airflow and lead to other troubles.

Unless you are in a medical center, you more than likely don’t have to have a MERV ranking higher than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC units are specifically engineered to work with a filter with a MERV level below 13. Occasionally you will find that quality systems have been made to work with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should catch most of the everyday nuisances, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to catch mold spores, but we advise having a professional eliminate mold as opposed to trying to mask the issue with a filter.

Sometimes the packaging demonstrates how regularly your filter should be replaced. From what we know, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the extra cost.

Filters are made from differing materials, with single-use fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters grab more debris 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, keep in mind that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your comfort equipment. It’s extremely unlikely your system was created to run with amount of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality. This unit works along with your comfort system.