Many people are afflicted by 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, installing the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people living with allergies and guidelines for finding11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that generate allergic reactions in some 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 be found on surfaces, causing discomfort 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 remove allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Traditional AC filters are ill-equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to catch32 allergens and restrict them from circulating throughout 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. For example, a MERV 8 filter can catch pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes 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 remove at least 99.97 percent of particles as tiny 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 are not well-suited for residential properties. Seek advice from51 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 air conditioners tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality AC filter for allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Plus, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to invest in one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is necessary for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the most appropriate air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the optimal balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the appropriate filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more effectively than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible performance. The general rule is to replace 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 not sure about which filter is right 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, upgrading your air conditioner's filter is one of the easiest 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 residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.