Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, picking out the correct AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and recommendations for identifying11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that cause allergic reactions in some 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 settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining clean indoor air is an important part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Standard AC filters are not designed to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are only designed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to capture32 allergens and restrict them from circulating inside your home.
The most effective air conditioner 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 catch 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 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 small as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them extremely good at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters slow airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential applications. Contact51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC are often more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioner filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain good 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 run correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the right air filter is crucial for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for capturing allergens and are usually 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 efficiently than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, don't forget to change it often for optimal performance. A good strategy is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, improving your air conditioner'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 perfect air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.