Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and measurements, and some have specifications that others don't. In most situations we suggest installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer says to pair with your unit.

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

A bigger ranking indicates the filter can catch smaller substances. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer dust can become obstructed faster, increasing pressure on your system. If your system isn’t made to function with this model of filter, it might decrease airflow and cause other problems.

Unless you reside in a medical facility, you likely don’t require a MERV ranking greater than 13. In fact, many residential HVAC systems are specifically engineered to operate with a filter with a MERV level under 13. Sometimes you will find that decent systems have been engineered to work with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should get many common annoyance, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional get rid of mold instead of trying to hide the trouble with a filter.

Often the packaging indicates how regularly your filter should be exchanged. 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 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, know that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system. It’s highly unlikely your system was created to run with level of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Clearwater, think over adding a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This unit works alongside your heating and cooling system.