Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, picking out the appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and tips for finding11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances 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 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 a critical 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?
Regular AC filters are not designed to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are simply supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to catch32 allergens and stop them from circulating through your home.
The most effective AC 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 capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating will lower the airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.
Please keep in mind44 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 small 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 well-suited for residential applications. Seek advice from51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners are often more costly than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent 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 determining whether to purchase one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the perfect HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the best 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 perfectly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact 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 typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: 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 guidelines 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 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, replacing your air conditioner's filter is one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you choose118 and install the correct air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.