AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people experience 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, selecting the correct AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and guidelines for finding the right air conditioning system filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions in affected individuals. Frequent 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 be in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining clean indoor air is a significant part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to remove allergens is a key component.

Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Standard AC filters are ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply supposed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to catch allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.

The best air conditioner 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 conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome relief.

Know 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 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 applications. Contact a professional before getting a HEPA filter to determine if your air conditioning system is compatible.

Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?

While allergy air filters for an AC 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 good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving 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 run efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to invest in one.

Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter

Identifying the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the most appropriate AC filter for allergies:

    • Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for 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 proper filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the right filter size.
    • Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more effectively than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
    • Replace your filter routinely: Once you install a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible 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 unsure 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading 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 perfect air filtration system for your home. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.

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