Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the correct AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people coping with allergies and tips for identifying11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Frequent 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 be in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining 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 ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to capture32 allergens and stop them from circulating inside your home.
The most effective air conditioner filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For example, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Know44 that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to take out at least 99.97 percent of particles as little as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them extremely good at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters restrict airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential applications. Contact51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to determine if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter for allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. In addition, utilizing 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 determining whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is necessary for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the optimal air conditioner 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 offers the optimal 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 perfectly. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for catching allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you install a filter, remember to change it often for optimal performance. A good rule of thumb is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult a professional: If you’re unsure 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, replacing your AC filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.