Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, picking out the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people living with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that cause 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 be found on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is an important 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 well equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply designed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and prevent them from circulating inside your home.
The ideal 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 instance, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove 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 remove at least 99.97 percent of particles as little as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them very effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters slow airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential situations. Consult51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to determine if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC are typically more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioning filter for allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Additionally, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the correct air filter is vital for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the most appropriate air conditioner 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 offers the ideal 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 perfectly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the proper 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 that have electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens more effectively than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you put in a filter, remind yourself 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.
- Consult a professional: If you’re not sure 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, upgrading your HVAC system's 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 residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.