Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and size, and some have features that others don't. In most situations we recommend using the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your equipment.

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

A bigger ranking demonstrates the filter can grab smaller particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer dust can become obstructed more quickly, increasing pressure on your system. If your system isn’t made to work with this kind of filter, it may lower airflow and cause other problems.

Unless you live in a hospital, you likely don’t need a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC equipment is specifically made to run with a filter with a MERV level under 13. Frequently you will find that quality systems have been made to run with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should get many common triggers, such as pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can catch mold spores, but we advise having a professional remove mold instead of trying to conceal the problem with a filter.

Usually the packaging indicates how frequently your filter should be replaced. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the additional cost.

Filters are manufactured from varying materials, with one-use fiberglass filters being standard. 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 may want to use a HEPA filter, know that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your comfort unit. It’s extremely unrealistic your equipment was made to run with kind of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality in Grand Island, think over adding a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works along with your heating and cooling system.