Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the existence of allergens in your home, installing the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and tips for choosing11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that cause allergic reactions in some 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 float in the air or be found 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 capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are not designed to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply supposed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and restrict 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 indicates37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. Case in point, 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 conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware44 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 restrict airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential situations. Consult51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be higher priced than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter for allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to buy yourself one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the correct air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the ideal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Filters that are the wrong size 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.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are best of all. 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 routinely: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for maximum performance. A good rule of thumb is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult a professional: If you’re unsure about which filter is right 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, 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 select118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.