Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the existence of allergens in your home, selecting the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people with allergies and guidelines for identifying11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that trigger 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 float in the air or be found on surfaces, causing irritation 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 lower the amount of allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Standard AC filters are not well equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to capture32 allergens and restrict them from circulating throughout your home.
The most effective air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For example, a MERV 8 filter can trap 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.
Know44 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 tiny 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 slow airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential applications. Contact51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for an AC are typically more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioner filter to alleviate discomfort from 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 prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to invest in one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the best air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the optimal 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 exactly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for catching allergens and are usually 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 catch allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, don't forget to change it often for the best possible performance. A good strategy is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult a professional: If you’re unsure about which filter is the most suitable 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, upgrading your air conditioner's filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find118 and install the correct air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.