Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, choosing the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and recommendations for finding11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions in affected individuals. Prevalent 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 drift in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining clean indoor air is a significant 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 cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are only supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to catch32 allergens and stop them from circulating throughout your home.
The ideal air conditioner 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. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can catch pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating will lower the airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.
Please keep in mind44 that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to capture at least 99.97 percent of particles as tiny 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 restrict airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential applications. 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 Cost?
While allergy air filters for AC units tend to be higher priced than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Plus, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the right air filter is crucial for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the optimal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the proper filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Refer to 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 a larger surface area for capturing 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 catch allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you select a filter, remember to change it often for maximum performance. A good rule of thumb is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact a professional: If you’re unsure about which filter is the most suitable 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading your AC filter is one of the easiest 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 household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.