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 instances we advise 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 is short for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A larger value demonstrates the filter can grab more miniscule substances. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that catches finer dust can clog more rapidly, raising pressure on your equipment. If your unit isn’t designed to work with this kind of filter, it could lower airflow and create other troubles.

Unless you are in a medical center, you probably don’t have to have a MERV level higher than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC units are specifically engineered to operate with a filter with a MERV ranking under 13. Sometimes you will learn that decent systems have been made to work with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should trap the majority of the daily annoyance, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can trap mold spores, but we recommend having a professional eliminate mold instead of trying to hide the issue with a filter.

Usually the packaging indicates how regularly your filter should be replaced. From what we know, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the extra expense.

Filters are made from different materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being the most common. Polyester and pleated filters catch more dust but may reduce your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you could be interested in using a HEPA filter, remember that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your heating and cooling unit. It’s extremely unlikely your system was made to work with amount of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality. This equipment works along with your HVAC system.