AC Filters for People with Allergies
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 amount of allergens in your home, choosing the correct AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and recommendations for finding the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that generate 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 irritation 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?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely developed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to trap 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 denotes their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating will lower the airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Please keep in mind 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 small 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 become impractical for residential applications. Seek advice from a professional before buying a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality AC filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen 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.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the best air filter is necessary for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines 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 many 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 made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing 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 efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you put in a filter, don’t forget to change it often for optimal performance. A good rule of thumb is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact a professional: If you’re unsure about which filter is right 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 problems, replacing your air conditioner’s filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you choose and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your household. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.
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