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 instances we recommend installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

All filters are classified with MERV ratings, which range from 1–20. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A bigger rating means the filter can trap smaller particulates. This sounds outstanding, but a filter that stops finer dust can become blocked more rapidly, raising pressure on your equipment. If your system isn’t designed to function with this type of filter, it can restrict airflow and create other issues.

Unless you reside in a hospital, you more than likely don’t require a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC systems are specifically designed to operate with a filter with a MERV ranking lower than 13. Frequently you will learn that decent systems have been engineered to run with a MERV level of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should trap the majority of the daily nuisances, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to catch mold spores, but we suggest having a professional get rid of mold instead of trying to hide the problem with a filter.

Often the packaging demonstrates how often your filter should be changed. From what we know, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the extra cost.

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

While you may tempted to use a HEPA filter, remember that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your comfort system. It’s extremely unrealistic your equipment was made to work with level of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Shreveport, think about installing a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This unit works in tandem with your HVAC system.