Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and dimensions, and some have specifications that others don't. In most instances we suggest installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

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

A larger value means the filter can catch smaller substances. This sounds good, but a filter that stops finer dust can become obstructed faster, increasing pressure on your equipment. If your system isn’t made to run with this type of filter, it might decrease airflow and cause other problems.

Unless you reside in a medical center, you more than likely don’t require a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC systems are specifically made to run with a filter with a MERV ranking under 13. Occasionally you will find that good systems have been designed to work with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should trap many daily triggers, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional eliminate mold instead of trying to hide the trouble with a filter.

Often the packaging indicates how regularly your filter should be changed. From what we know, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the additional cost.

Filters are manufactured from varying materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being the most common. Polyester and pleated filters catch more dust but may decrease your unit’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you could be interested in using a HEPA filter, remember that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system. It’s extremely unlikely your system was designed to work with level of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Clearwater, think about adding a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works alongside your comfort system.