Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and recommendations for identifying11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that generate 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 drift in the air or accumulate 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?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are merely developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to capture32 allergens and stop them from circulating throughout your home.
The most effective AC 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. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can catch 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 will lower the airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.
Know44 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 extremely good 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. Contact51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for AC units are often higher priced than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioner filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Additionally, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the right air filter is necessary for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the perfect HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the very best 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 perfectly. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are better yet. 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 on a regular basis: Once you install a filter, remind yourself to change it often for optimal performance. A good strategy is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s guidelines 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 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, replacing your air conditioner's filter is one of the easiest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you find118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.