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 appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people with allergies and recommendations for identifying11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that generate allergic reactions in affected individuals. Prevalent 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 drift in the air or settle on surfaces, causing discomfort 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 lower the amount of allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to capture32 allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.
The best 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. 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 conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating will lower the airborne allergens for much-appreciated 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 highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters slow airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential applications. Contact51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to determine if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners are typically higher priced than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Additionally, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to purchase one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting 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: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the best 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 perfectly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s usefulness. 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 generally 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 regularly: Once you install a filter, don't forget 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.
- Contact a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is best 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, replacing your AC filter is one of the easiest 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 reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.