Many people experience 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, installing the appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for identifying11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials 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 drift in the air or settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is an important part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to lower the amount of allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Traditional AC filters are not designed to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are only developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to capture32 allergens and restrict them from circulating throughout your home.
The most effective AC filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For instance, 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 reduces airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Know44 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 well-suited for residential applications. Contact51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to help decide 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 benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. In addition, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to invest in one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the best air filter is vital for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features 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 precisely. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens more efficiently than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you install a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible performance. A good strategy is to exchange 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 uncertain 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, replacing 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 find118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.