Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the existence of allergens in your home, installing the correct AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people living with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that trigger allergic reactions in affected individuals. Frequent 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 problems 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 remove allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are not designed to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are only supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and restrict them from circulating through your home.
The most effective air conditioner filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which indicates37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For example, a MERV 8 filter can catch pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware44 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 limit airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential situations. Consult51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Additionally, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to purchase one.
Techniques 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 strategies to help you choose the perfect HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the proper filter size: Air filters are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you install a filter, don't forget 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 guidelines 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 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, improving your HVAC system's filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you select118 and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.