Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the existence of allergens in your home, picking out the appropriate AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that generate allergic reactions in sensitive 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 be found on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping 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 ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are only supposed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and restrict them from circulating inside your home.
The most effective 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. 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 conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.
Be aware44 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 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 limit airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential properties. Consult51 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 an AC are often higher priced than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Plus, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function 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 vital for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the most appropriate HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the optimal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters come in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for collecting 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 effectively than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you install a filter, remember to change it often for maximum performance. The general rule is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Seek advice from a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is the most suitable 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading your air conditioner's filter is one of the easiest 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 suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.