Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right AC 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 settle on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having clean indoor air is an important 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 lessen allergy symptoms. Most are merely supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap32 allergens and stop them from circulating inside your home.
The best AC 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. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can trap pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Be aware44 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 tiny 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 practical 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 an AC tend to be 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, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the right air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the perfect AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the ideal 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 into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, remember to change it often for maximum performance. The general rule is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult 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 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading 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 select118 and install the correct air filtration system for your residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.