Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, installing the correct AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and guidelines for choosing11 the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that generate allergic reactions in some 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 float in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is a critical 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?
Traditional AC filters are ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to trap32 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 indicates37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For instance, 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 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 small 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 slow airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential situations. Consult51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for AC units are typically more costly than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. In addition, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to invest in one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the correct air filter is necessary for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the most appropriate AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features 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 precisely. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you put in a filter, don't forget to change it often for the best possible performance. A good rule of thumb is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Consult a professional: If you’re unsure about which filter is best 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, replacing 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 select118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.