Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to manage symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that trigger allergic reactions in sensitive 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. 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 ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are merely developed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and restrict them from circulating through your home.
The most effective air conditioner 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 example, 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 conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating will lower the airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Be aware44 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 highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters slow airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential applications. Consult51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to determine 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, investing in a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to buy yourself one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the correct air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the optimal AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers 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. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for maximum 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.
- 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 ailments, replacing your HVAC system's filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help you select118 and install the most appropriate air filtration system for your residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.