Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, selecting the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials 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 drift in the air or be found on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is a significant part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Standard AC filters are ill-equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to reduce 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 prevent 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 indicates37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For instance, 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 conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating will lower the airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware44 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 tiny as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them very effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters restrict airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential situations. Consult51 a professional before installing 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 typically more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioning filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. In addition, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to invest in one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the right air filter is vital for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the optimal HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides 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 into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens more effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for maximum performance. A good rule of thumb is to switch out 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 unsure about which filter is best for your needs or how to maintain your HVAC system properly, ask a skilled Expert 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, improving your air conditioner's filter is one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you select118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.