Many people experience 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, choosing the correct AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people with allergies and tips for identifying11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that trigger 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 float in the air or be found on surfaces, causing discomfort 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 capture 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 only supposed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to capture32 allergens and stop them from circulating throughout your home.
The ideal 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. Case in point, 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-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 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 restrict airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential properties. Contact51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to determine if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC are typically more expensive than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Plus, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to purchase one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is necessary 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: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the optimal 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 exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Read your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are typically 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 effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you put in 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 recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact 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 is afflicted with 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 find118 and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.