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 amount of allergens in your home, choosing the correct AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for finding11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions in affected 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 drift in the air or settle on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having clean indoor air is a critical part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Traditional AC filters are not designed to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to catch32 allergens and restrict them from circulating inside your home.
The best 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 example, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome 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 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 slow airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential properties. Seek advice from51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners are typically more costly than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining 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 most appropriate 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 provides the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the correct filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. 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.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for capturing allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for optimal performance. A good rule of thumb is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended replacement interval.
- Seek advice from a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is best for your needs or how to maintain your HVAC system properly, ask an experienced technician 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, 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 most appropriate air filtration system for your residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.