Are all HVAC air filters the same?

No, HVAC air filters are different in quality and size, and some have specs that others don't. In most situations we suggest installing the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your equipment.

All filters have MERV ratings, which range from 1–20. MERV is short for minimum efficiency reporting value.

A bigger rating means the filter can grab finer substances. This sounds great, but a filter that catches finer dust can become obstructed faster, raising pressure on your system. If your equipment isn’t designed to function with this type of filter, it can restrict airflow and cause other issues.

Unless you reside in a medical facility, you probably don’t require a MERV ranking greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC systems are specifically made to work with a filter with a MERV level under 13. Frequently you will discover that decent systems have been made to operate with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should get many daily triggers, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional eliminate mold rather than trying to conceal the problem with a filter.

Often the packaging indicates how frequently your filter should be replaced. From what we know, the accordion-style filters hold up better, and are worth the additional cost.

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

While you might be interested in using a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like adding a MERV 16 filter in your HVAC unit. It’s very unrealistic your equipment was created to handle that kind of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality in Edmonton, consider getting a HEPA-grade air filtration system. This equipment works alongside your HVAC system.