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 presence of allergens in your home, picking out the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that generate allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Frequent 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 float in the air or accumulate 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 supposed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap32 allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.
The best 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 trap pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-appreciated 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 small as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters limit airflow so severely that they become impractical 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 AC units 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 help reduce allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Plus, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to purchase one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the optimal air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the ideal 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. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, don't forget to change it often for maximum performance. A good rule of thumb is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult a professional: If you’re unsure about which filter is the most suitable for your needs or how to maintain your HVAC system properly, ask an experienced technician 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 ailments, 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 contact a Service Experts office near you today.