Are all HVAC air filters the same?

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

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 more miniscule particles. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that catches finer dirt can clog more rapidly, increasing pressure on your unit. If your equipment isn’t created to function with this kind of filter, it can reduce airflow and create other problems.

Unless you reside in a hospital, you more than likely don’t require a MERV rating higher than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC units are specifically engineered to operate with a filter with a MERV ranking lower than 13. Sometimes you will find that good systems have been made to run with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should get most of the everyday nuisances, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can trap mold spores, but we advise having a professional get rid of mold instead of trying to hide the issue with a filter.

Usually the packaging demonstrates how often your filter should be exchanged. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the extra cost.

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

While you could want to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC system. It’s extremely unlikely your unit was created to run with amount of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality in Longmont, think about installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This product works along with your comfort system.