Does Filter Brand Really Matter?

When it comes to buying a filter, size is the most important factor. It doesn't matter what BRAND you use, as long as you buy the same SIZE. What's important is the filter rating. For example, replacement Honeywell oven filters can be purchased through several filter manufacturers.

They are manufactured to the same specifications as the brand name filter. Simply choose a filter size and a MERV rating that meets your needs. Often referred to as OEM filters or original equipment manufacturers, they are produced by the brand name company. There are also many aftermarket or discounted home air filters available for purchase.

So what's the difference? To tell you the truth, the biggest difference you'll see is the cost of HVAC filters. OEM filters are often much more expensive because you pay for one brand. When comparing the material from which each air filter is made, they will look and feel identical. The only difference you can occasionally see is if the OEM filter material is limited or has a patented design.

The other difference you may notice is simply the brand and name of the oven filter. What type of filter do you have? Start by turning off the oven. Remove the existing oven filter, which will be inside the oven or inside the return air vent. Look for an arrow on the filter that indicates the direction of the air flow. Using a permanent marker, draw the direction of the air flow on the outside of the oven, so you always know the correct way to install the filter. Then note the size of the oven filter, which will be printed on the cardboard frame.

The thicker the air filter, the longer it will last. A 1-inch filter will clog with particulate matter much faster than a 4- or 5-inch filter. When looking at the packaging, check the manufacturer's recommended replacement dates. This will give you a good idea of the value of a thicker air filter. During a wildfire, you'll need to change filters more often than you would under normal air conditions, and there are some indicators that can help you know when it's time to replace one.

Compared to cheaper basic filters available, medium-efficiency MERV filters such as Nordic Pure MERV 12 can greatly reduce airborne dust, mold spores, pollen and even smoke, and doing so can help alleviate respiratory ailments according to NIH review. In addition, an oft-cited comprehensive independent test of the effects of MERV filters 8 to 13 on HVAC airflow and energy consumption (an indicator of how hard the equipment is working) concluded that even “if no adjustments are made for the increased pressure drop of high MERV filters, airflow and energy penalties are unlikely to be severe at least, not until the filter is loaded with dirt. However, these filters have some drawbacks first, they usually cost significantly more than basic fiberglass filters. For more information on individual products that use filters, such as air purifiers, room air conditioners, and dehumidifiers, refer to their specific buying guides. Some washable filters aren't much better, but high-end permanent filters can compete with very common disposable pleated filters which are available in a range even reaching MERV 12 or higher. The experts at David Gray Heating & Air have extensive experience and knowledge to help you with your air filtering needs. But those are rare circumstances and whether or not to pay more for a better filter depends mainly on whether cleaner air is a priority for you. The best way to measure the size of your air filter is to take out your measuring tape and measure it directly.

If you can't find Nordic Pure in your size or if you prefer to buy and buy a new filter in a store right away Honeywell's FPR 9 filters and Filtrete's MPR 1500 filters are similar and widely available in retail stores. If your HVAC system uses a coarser filter (typically in 4 to 5 inch range and typically mounted on air handler) it's likely designed specifically for medium efficiency MERV filtration.

Hannah Sawatzki
Hannah Sawatzki

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