Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and dimensions, and some have specifications that others don't. In most instances we advise getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your system.

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

A higher value indicates the filter can catch finer particulates. This sounds good, but a filter that stops finer dirt can clog faster, increasing pressure on your unit. If your system isn’t designed to work with this kind of filter, it might decrease airflow and create other problems.

Unless you reside in a medical center, you likely don’t need a MERV rating above 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC units are specifically designed to work with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Sometimes you will discover that decent systems have been made to operate with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should trap many everyday annoyance, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional remove mold rather than trying to hide the trouble with a filter.

Often the packaging demonstrates how regularly your filter should be changed. From what we know, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the added price.

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

While you might tempted to use a HEPA filter, know that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your heating and cooling equipment. It’s very unrealistic your unit was made to run with amount of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Pierre, think over installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works in tandem with your comfort system.