AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, choosing the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and recommendations for finding the right air conditioner filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are elements that cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Common indoor allergens include:

    • Dust mites
    • Pet dander
    • Mold spores
    • Tobacco smoke
    • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
    • Bacteria and viruses

Common outdoor allergens include:

    • Pollen
    • Ragweed
    • Wildfire smoke
    • Smog and ozone

These allergens can drift in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing problems 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 capture allergens is a key component.

Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Traditional AC filters are ill-equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are simply supposed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.

The ideal AC filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which denotes their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For example, a MERV 8 filter can capture 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 will lower the airborne allergens for much-needed relief.

Know 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 little 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. Seek advice from a professional before buying a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.

Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?

While allergy air filters for air conditioners are often more costly than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on 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, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to buy yourself one.

Tips for Choosing an AC Filter

Identifying the right air filter is crucial for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the most appropriate HVAC system filter for allergies:

    • Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
    • Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters come in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
    • Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for collecting allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
    • Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, remember to change it often for the best possible performance. A good rule of thumb is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
    • Seek advice from a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is best 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, upgrading your HVAC system’s filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you select and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.

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