Many people suffer from 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, installing the appropriate 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 materials 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:
- 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. Keeping clean indoor air is a critical 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 not designed to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to trap32 allergens and restrict them from circulating inside your home.
The most effective 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 example, 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 will lower the airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.
Be aware44 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 extremely good 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 applications. Consult51 a professional before buying 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 tend to be more expensive 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 superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Additionally, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to purchase one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the best air filter is necessary for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the optimal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the proper filter size: Air filters are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. 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 larger surface area for collecting allergens and are typically 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 more efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you select a filter, remember to change it often for maximum performance. A good strategy 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 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading 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 select118 and install the correct air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.