Are all HVAC air filters the same?

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

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

A bigger value indicates the filter can trap more miniscule particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that catches finer dust can become obstructed more rapidly, increasing pressure on your system. If your system isn’t made to function with this type of filter, it can restrict airflow and cause other problems.

Unless you are in a hospital, you likely don’t need a MERV level higher than 13. In fact, most residential HVAC units are specifically designed to run with a filter with a MERV ranking under 13. Sometimes you will discover that decent systems have been designed to operate with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should trap many common nuisances, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can trap mold spores, but we recommend having a professional remove mold as opposed to trying to conceal the problem with a filter.

Usually the packaging shows how regularly your filter should be exchanged. From what we know, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the added expense.

Filters are manufactured from differing materials, with single-use fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters grab more dirt but may decrease your system’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you could tempted to use a HEPA filter, remember that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your heating and cooling system. It’s highly unrealistic your equipment was created to run with kind of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Belleville, think about installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This unit works alongside your comfort system.