Are all HVAC air filters the same?

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

All filters are classified with MERV ratings, which vary from 1–20. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A higher rating means the filter can catch more miniscule substances. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer dust can clog more rapidly, raising pressure on your system. If your equipment isn’t created to run with this model of filter, it may lower airflow and lead to other issues.

Unless you live in a medical center, you likely don’t have to have a MERV rating above 13. In fact, many residential HVAC systems are specifically made to operate with a filter with a MERV ranking lower than 13. Occasionally you will find that decent systems have been engineered to operate with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should catch the majority of the common annoyance, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to trap mold spores, but we recommend having a professional eliminate mold rather than trying to mask the trouble with a filter.

Often the packaging shows how frequently your filter should be exchanged. In our experience, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the additional expense.

Filters are manufactured from differing materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being standard. Polyester and pleated filters grab more debris but may reduce your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you might tempted to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC equipment. It’s extremely doubtful your equipment was designed to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This product works in tandem with your comfort system.

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