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 instances we advise installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your system.

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

A larger ranking demonstrates the filter can catch finer substances. This sounds good, but a filter that traps finer dust can become obstructed faster, heightening pressure on your equipment. If your system isn’t made to work with this kind of filter, it may reduce airflow and lead to other issues.

Unless you are in a hospital, you probably don’t have to have a MERV rating higher than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to run with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Frequently you will find that decent systems have been engineered to operate with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should get the majority of the everyday nuisances, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can trap mold spores, but we advise having a professional eliminate mold instead of trying to mask the problem with a filter.

Often the packaging demonstrates how often your filter should be replaced. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the extra cost.

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

While you may tempted to use a HEPA filter, know that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your comfort system. It’s very unlikely your system was made to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This product works alongside your comfort system.

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