Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and measurements, and some have specs that others don't. In most cases we recommend using the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your unit.

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

A larger value demonstrates the filter can grab more miniscule particulates. This sounds good, but a filter that stops finer dust can clog faster, heightening pressure on your equipment. If your equipment isn’t made to work with this type of filter, it could reduce airflow and lead to other problems.

Unless you live in a hospital, you likely don’t have to have a MERV ranking greater than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC units are specifically engineered to run with a filter with a MERV ranking below 13. Occasionally you will find that good systems have been made to run with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should trap most of the common annoyance, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional remove mold instead of trying to conceal the problem with a filter.

Often the packaging demonstrates how frequently your filter should be changed. From what we know, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the added cost.

Filters are manufactured from differing materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being standard. 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 may be interested in using a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your heating and cooling equipment. It’s very unlikely your system was created to handle that amount of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This equipment works along with your comfort system.

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