Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the existence of allergens in your home, installing the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that trigger allergic reactions in some 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 be in the air or settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having 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 ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to trap32 allergens and stop them from circulating throughout your home.
The ideal AC 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 catch 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 minimizes 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 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 limit airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential situations. Consult51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for AC units are often higher priced than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. In addition, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the correct air filter is vital for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the perfect HVAC system filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the ideal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for catching allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens more efficiently than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for optimal performance. The general rule is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, replacing your AC 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 residence. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.