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 presence of allergens in your home, picking out the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and tips for identifying11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that generate allergic reactions in some 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 be found on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining clean indoor air is a significant 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?
Regular AC filters are not well equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to capture32 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 measures37 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 AC filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for much-appreciated 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 slow airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential situations. Contact51 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 air conditioners are typically more expensive than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter for 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 correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the right 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 air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate 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 into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, remember to change it often for optimal performance. The general rule is to switch out 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 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, 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 most appropriate air filtration system for your home. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.