Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters are different in quality and dimensions, and some have features that others don't. In most cases we recommend using the filter your HVAC manufacturer says to pair with your unit.

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

A larger value demonstrates the filter can trap smaller particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that catches finer dirt can clog more rapidly, increasing pressure on your unit. If your unit isn’t created to work with this kind of filter, it may lower airflow and lead to other troubles.

Unless you reside in a medical facility, you more than likely don’t have to have a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to run with a filter with a MERV ranking lower than 13. Occasionally you will find that quality systems have been designed to operate with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should catch most of the everyday nuisances, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can stop mold spores, but we advise having a professional remove mold as opposed to trying to hide the trouble with a filter.

Usually the packaging shows how often your filter should be changed. From what we know, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the added cost.

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

While you might tempted to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC equipment. It’s extremely doubtful your system was created to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Windsor, think about getting a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works in tandem with your comfort system.