Many people suffer from 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 amount of allergens in your home, picking out the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people coping with allergies and guidelines for choosing11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that trigger 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 float in the air or be found on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is an important part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are simply developed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and stop them from circulating throughout your home.
The best 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 remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner 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 tiny as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them very 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 applications. Consult51 a professional before getting a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for AC units tend to be higher priced than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to purchase one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the right air filter is necessary for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the most appropriate air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For many 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 efficiency. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you put in a filter, remind yourself to change it often for optimal 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.
- Seek advice from a professional: If you’re unsure 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, replacing your AC 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 most appropriate air filtration system for your home. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.