Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and measurements, and some have features that others don't. In most instances we recommend getting the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your unit.

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

A larger value means the filter can trap more miniscule particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer substances can clog faster, raising pressure on your unit. If your unit isn’t created to run with this kind of filter, it may reduce airflow and cause other troubles.

Unless you live in a hospital, you likely don’t require a MERV rating above 13. In fact, most residential HVAC systems are specifically made to operate with a filter with a MERV level below 13. Occasionally you will discover that decent systems have been engineered to operate with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should trap most of the common triggers, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to trap mold spores, but we suggest having a professional remove mold as opposed to trying to conceal the trouble with a filter.

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

Filters are created from different materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being standard. Polyester and pleated filters trap more debris but may reduce your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you may tempted to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like putting a MERV 16 filter in your comfort equipment. It’s highly unlikely your equipment was made to run with kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Fort Myers, think over installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This equipment works along with your HVAC system.