Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people living with allergies and tips for identifying11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that trigger 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 be in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having 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 not well equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to capture32 allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout 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 trap 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 will lower the airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Know44 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 restrict airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential applications. Contact51 a professional before getting 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 typically higher priced than standard filters, the advantages 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, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the best air filter is necessary for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the perfect AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers 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 precisely. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, 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 greater surface area for capturing allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens more efficiently than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, remind yourself to change it often for maximum performance. A good strategy is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Seek advice from a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is right 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, replacing your AC 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 home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.