Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and measurements, and some have specifications that others don't. In most cases we recommend getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

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

A bigger value demonstrates the filter can grab smaller particulates. This sounds good, but a filter that catches finer dirt can clog faster, increasing pressure on your unit. If your equipment isn’t created to work with this kind of filter, it can reduce airflow and lead to other issues.

Unless you are in a medical center, you more than likely don’t have to have a MERV ranking greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to run with a filter with a MERV level under 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 ranking of 5 should catch most of the everyday nuisances, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we suggest having a professional remove mold as opposed to trying to hide the problem with a filter.

Sometimes the packaging demonstrates 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 differing materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being the most common. Polyester and pleated filters grab more dirt 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 adding a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC equipment. It’s highly unrealistic your system was created to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Windsor, think over installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works in tandem with your comfort system.