No, HVAC air filters vary in quality and dimensions, and some have specs that others don't. In most cases we advise using the filter your HVAC manufacturer suggests pairing with your system.
All filters have MERV ratings, which vary from 1–20. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value.
A bigger value demonstrates the filter can trap smaller substances. This sounds good, but a filter that catches finer substances can become blocked faster, heightening pressure on your equipment. If your system isn’t designed to run with this type of filter, it may decrease airflow and lead to other troubles.
Unless you are in a hospital, you likely don’t require a MERV level greater than 13. In fact, the majority of residential HVAC units are specifically made to work with a filter with a MERV level below 13. Frequently you will discover that quality systems have been designed to operate with a MERV rating of 8 or 11.
All filters with a MERV ranking of 5 should catch many common annoyance, like pollen, pet dander and dust. Some filters claim to be able to catch mold spores, but we advise having a professional remove mold instead of trying to conceal the issue with a filter.
Usually the packaging shows how frequently your filter should be replaced. From what we’ve seen, the accordion-style filters last longer, and are worth the added expense.
Filters are made from differing materials, with disposable fiberglass filters being the most common. Polyester and pleated filters catch more dirt but may decrease your system’s airflow. Then there are HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters.
While you could be interested in using a HEPA filter, keep in mind that's like installing a MERV 16 filter in your comfort equipment. It’s highly unlikely your system was created to handle that amount of resistance. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality. This equipment works along with your heating and cooling system.