Many people suffer from 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, selecting the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and tips for choosing11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements 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 float 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 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 simply developed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 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 indicates37 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 air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Be aware44 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 little 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 are not well-suited for residential applications. Consult51 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 air conditioners are often higher priced than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Plus, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to purchase one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the perfect HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the correct filter size: Air filters are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, remember to change it often for maximum performance. The general rule is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Seek advice from 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 skilled Expert 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 best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you select118 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.