AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, choosing the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people with allergies and tips for choosing the right AC filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Common indoor allergens include:

  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold spores
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Bacteria and viruses

Common outdoor allergens include:

  • Pollen
  • Ragweed
  • Wildfire smoke
  • Smog and ozone

These allergens can float in the air or settle on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining clean indoor air is an important 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 merely designed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.

The best AC filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which indicates 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 capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-needed relief.

Be aware 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 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 restrict airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential applications. Consult a professional before installing a HEPA filter to determine 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, investing in a high-quality AC filter for allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Plus, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to invest in one.

Tips for Choosing an AC Filter

Selecting the right air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the perfect AC filter for allergies:

  • Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
  • Choose the correct filter size: Air filters come 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. 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 a greater surface area for capturing allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens more efficiently than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
  • Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, remember 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 guidelines 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading your AC filter is one of the best things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you select and install the perfect air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.

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