Are all HVAC air filters the same?

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

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

A larger rating means the filter can grab finer substances. This sounds great, but a filter that traps finer dirt can become blocked faster, raising pressure on your equipment. If your equipment isn’t created to run with this model of filter, it can restrict airflow and cause other troubles.

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

All filters with a MERV level of 5 should get many daily annoyance, including pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters assert they can stop mold spores, but we recommend having a professional eliminate mold as opposed to trying to mask the trouble with a filter.

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

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

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