Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, picking out the appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and tips for choosing11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements 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:
- 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. Having clean indoor air is a significant part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to remove allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and prevent them from circulating inside your home.
The ideal air conditioning system 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 capture 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 reduces airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware44 that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to take out at least 99.97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them very effective 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 situations. Consult51 a professional before getting 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 often higher priced than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Plus, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to purchase one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the best air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the very 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 perfectly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for collecting allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens more effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible performance. A good strategy is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact 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 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 ailments, improving your AC filter is one of the best 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 household. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.