Many people are afflicted by allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the existence of allergens in your home, choosing the right AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people coping with allergies and recommendations for finding11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances 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 accumulate 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 capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Traditional AC filters are ill-equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are simply designed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to catch32 allergens and prevent them from circulating through your home.
The most effective 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 trap pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Please keep in mind44 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 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 properties. Seek advice from51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners are typically more costly than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioner filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. In addition, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to buy yourself 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 strategies to help you choose the optimal air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the very best 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 exactly. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for catching allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you put in a filter, remember to change it often for optimal performance. A good rule of thumb is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, replacing your air conditioner's filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you choose118 and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your home. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.