Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and dimensions, and some have specifications that others don't. In most instances we suggest installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your unit.

All filters have MERV ratings, which vary from 1–20. MERV is short for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A bigger rating indicates the filter can grab more miniscule substances. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer dust can become obstructed more rapidly, raising pressure on your system. If your equipment isn’t made to work with this type of filter, it may lower airflow and cause other problems.

Unless you live in a hospital, you more than likely don’t need a MERV rating above 13. In fact, many residential HVAC systems are specifically designed to run with a filter with a MERV ranking below 13. Occasionally you will learn that good systems have been designed to work with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should trap the majority of the common annoyance, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional remove mold rather than trying to mask the problem with a filter.

Usually the packaging indicates how regularly your filter should be changed. In our experience, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the additional price.

Filters are manufactured from different materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters catch more dirt 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 installing a MERV 16 filter in your comfort system. It’s highly unrealistic your equipment was created to run with level of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality. This equipment works alongside your HVAC system.

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