Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, picking out the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people living with allergies and tips for finding11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions in affected individuals. Prevalent 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 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?
Traditional AC filters are not well equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply designed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to catch32 allergens and stop them from circulating through your home.
The best air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which denotes37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Please keep in mind44 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 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 are not well-suited for residential applications. Seek advice from51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be more costly than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening 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 run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to purchase one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the best air filter is necessary for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of 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 are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for catching allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more effectively than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you install a filter, don't forget to change it often for maximum performance. A good rule of thumb is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact 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 is afflicted with 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 choose118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.