AC Filters for People with Allergies
Many people experience 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 existence of allergens in your home, choosing the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people living with allergies and recommendations for identifying the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that generate allergic reactions in some 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 be in the air or be found on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining clean indoor air is a critical 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?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are only designed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to trap allergens and restrict them from circulating through your home.
The best air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. Case in point, 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 will lower the airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware 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 very effective 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 situations. Contact a professional before getting a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
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, paying for a high-quality air conditioner filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Additionally, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to buy yourself one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the optimal AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the optimal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more efficiently than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, don’t forget to change it often for the best possible performance. A good rule of thumb is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact a professional: If you’re not sure 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 conditions, replacing your air conditioner’s filter is one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you select and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.
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