Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters differ in quality and measurements, and some have specifications that others don't. In most cases 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 is short for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A larger rating demonstrates the filter can grab finer substances. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer dust can become obstructed more quickly, heightening pressure on your equipment. If your equipment isn’t created to function with this kind of filter, it may lower airflow and create other troubles.

Unless you reside in a medical center, you more than likely don’t require a MERV ranking above 13. In fact, most residential HVAC equipment is specifically engineered to run with a filter with a MERV rating below 13. Sometimes you will learn that good systems have been made to work with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should catch many common annoyance, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can catch mold spores, but we recommend having a professional eliminate mold rather than trying to conceal the issue with a filter.

Sometimes the packaging shows how regularly your filter should be changed. In our experience, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the additional price.

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

While you could be interested in using a HEPA filter, know that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your heating and cooling system. It’s highly unrealistic your equipment was created to run with amount of resistance. If you’re troubled by indoor air quality in Jackson, consider getting a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This unit works in tandem with your HVAC system.