Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the right AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people coping with allergies and recommendations for finding11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Common indoor allergens include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Tobacco smoke
- Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Bacteria and viruses
Common outdoor allergens include:
- Wildfire smoke
- Smog and ozone
These allergens can float in the air or settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having clean indoor air is an important part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to lower the amount of allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Traditional AC filters are not well equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to catch32 allergens and stop them from circulating through your home.
The most effective air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which denotes37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For instance, a MERV 8 filter can trap pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Please keep in mind44 that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to remove at least 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters slow airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential situations. Seek advice from51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Plus, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to buy yourself one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the right air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the most appropriate HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters come in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens more effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible performance. The general rule is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is best for your needs or how to maintain your HVAC system properly, ask a licensed professional to help you make an informed decision.
Install a High-Quality Air Filtration System in Your Home
If you or someone in your household is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, upgrading your HVAC system's filter is one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you choose118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your home. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.