Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters are different in quality and dimensions, and some have specs that others don't. In most cases we advise using the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

All filters are assigned MERV ratings, which vary from 1–20. MERV means minimum efficiency reporting value.

A larger rating indicates the filter can catch more miniscule substances. This sounds great, but a filter that stops finer substances can clog faster, heightening pressure on your system. If your unit isn’t created to work with this model of filter, it might decrease airflow and create other troubles.

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

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should trap many common triggers, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to trap mold spores, but we recommend having a professional get rid of mold rather than trying to hide the trouble with a filter.

Often the packaging shows how often your filter should be exchanged. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the additional price.

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

While you might tempted to use a HEPA filter, know that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your comfort unit. It’s very doubtful your system was created to work with level of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This product works alongside your heating and cooling system.

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