Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters are different in quality and size, and some have specifications that others don't. In most situations we recommend installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your unit.

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

A higher ranking indicates the filter can grab more miniscule particles. This sounds great, but a filter that catches finer dust can become blocked more rapidly, heightening pressure on your system. If your system isn’t made to function with this type of filter, it might decrease airflow and lead to other problems.

Unless you reside in a hospital, you more than likely don’t require a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC systems are specifically engineered to work with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Frequently you will learn that quality systems have been designed to run with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should catch most of the daily nuisances, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can trap mold spores, but we recommend having a professional get rid of mold rather than trying to hide the issue with a filter.

Usually the packaging indicates how frequently your filter should be exchanged. In our experience, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the added expense.

Filters are manufactured from different 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 could be interested in using a HEPA filter, know that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your comfort unit. It’s extremely doubtful your equipment was made to run with level of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Sharonville, think about adding a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works in tandem with your HVAC system.