AC Filters for People with Allergies
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 existence of allergens in your home, selecting the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people with allergies and tips for identifying the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that trigger allergic reactions in affected 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 be in the air or be found 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 ill-equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only designed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to catch allergens and restrict them from circulating inside your home.
The ideal air conditioner filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which indicates 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 conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware 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 highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters restrict airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential properties. Contact a professional before getting a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be higher priced 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, improving overall health and well-being. In addition, 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 deciding whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the best air filter is crucial for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the optimal air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features 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 exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Think about 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 best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, don’t forget to change it often for optimal performance. The general rule 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 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, replacing your HVAC system’s filter is one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you choose and install the correct air filtration system for your residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.
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