Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people coping with allergies and tips for finding11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that trigger allergic reactions in sensitive 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 settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining 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?
Standard AC filters are not designed to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to catch32 allergens and stop them from circulating inside your home.
The ideal air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which denotes37 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 remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Please keep in mind44 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 little 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 slow airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential properties. Seek advice from51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for AC units are often more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Plus, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the right air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the optimal air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose 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 appropriate filter size: Air filters are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are generally 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 routinely: Once you install 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 recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, 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 choose118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.