Are all HVAC air filters the same?

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

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

A bigger rating means the filter can catch more miniscule particles. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that traps finer dirt can clog more quickly, heightening pressure on your unit. If your equipment isn’t designed to run with this type of filter, it can reduce airflow and cause other problems.

Unless you live in a medical center, you likely don’t need a MERV ranking higher than 13. In fact, many residential HVAC units are specifically designed to run with a filter with a MERV rating lower than 13. Occasionally you will learn that decent systems have been made to work with a MERV ranking of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV rating of 5 should trap most of the daily nuisances, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters say they can catch mold spores, but we suggest having a professional get rid of mold as opposed to trying to hide the issue with a filter.

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

Filters are manufactured from different materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being standard. Polyester and pleated filters trap more debris but may limit your system’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.

While you might want to use a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your comfort equipment. It’s highly unlikely your equipment was made to work with kind of resistance. If you’re worried about indoor air quality in La Porte, consider installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This equipment works alongside your HVAC system.