Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, choosing the appropriate AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and tips for identifying11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that generate allergic reactions in some 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 float in the air or settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having clean indoor air is an important 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?
Standard AC filters are not well equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to capture32 allergens and restrict them from circulating throughout your home.
The best AC filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For example, a MERV 8 filter can trap 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 reduces airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Know44 that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to take out 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 limit airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential situations. Contact51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Additionally, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to purchase one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is vital for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the most appropriate AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with 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. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for optimal performance. The general rule is to replace 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 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, replacing your HVAC system's filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find118 and install the correct air filtration system for your home. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.