Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters are different in quality and measurements, and some have features that others don't. In most situations we advise installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer recommends pairing with your equipment.

All filters have MERV ratings, which vary from 1–20. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A larger rating indicates the filter can catch smaller particles. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer dirt can clog more rapidly, increasing pressure on your unit. If your unit isn’t created to function with this kind of filter, it may reduce airflow and lead to other problems.

Unless you are in a hospital, you likely don’t require a MERV rating greater than 13. In fact, many residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to run with a filter with a MERV ranking lower than 13. Sometimes you will find that decent systems have been made to run with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should get most of the everyday nuisances, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we suggest having a professional get rid of mold instead of trying to hide the issue with a filter.

Usually the packaging shows how often your filter should be changed. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters work better, and are worth the extra cost.

Filters are created from differing materials, with single-use fiberglass filters being most typical. Polyester and pleated filters grab more debris but may reduce your equipment’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you may want to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system. It’s highly unlikely your unit was designed to run with level of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Longmont, think about installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works along with your heating and cooling system.