Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, picking out the correct AC filter is vital. 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 materials that generate allergic reactions in some 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 be in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is a significant part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are not well equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to catch32 allergens and prevent them from circulating through your home.
The ideal AC 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 example, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes 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 little 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 slow airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential properties. Seek advice from51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be more costly than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioner filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. In addition, using 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 making the decision of whether to buy yourself one.
Tips 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 strategies to help you choose the optimal air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the correct 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 into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Consult 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 more surface area for capturing allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more efficiently than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, don't forget to change it often for optimal performance. A good strategy is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, replacing 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 correct air filtration system for your household. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.