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 suggest using the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your equipment.

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

A bigger value indicates the filter can grab smaller substances. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that catches finer dirt can clog more quickly, raising pressure on your equipment. If your system isn’t designed to work with this kind of filter, it might restrict airflow and lead to other problems.

Unless you reside in a medical facility, you probably don’t require a MERV ranking above 13. In fact, many residential HVAC systems are specifically engineered to operate with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Sometimes you will find that quality systems have been engineered to run with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should get the majority of the everyday triggers, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional get rid of mold instead of trying to conceal the problem with a filter.

Sometimes the packaging demonstrates how often your filter should be exchanged. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the added expense.

Filters are created from different materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters grab more dust but may decrease your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you could be interested in using a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your comfort unit. It’s extremely unlikely your unit was created to run with kind of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality. This unit works along with your heating and cooling system.

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