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, choosing the appropriate AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people living with allergies and tips for choosing11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that cause 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 accumulate on surfaces, causing problems for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Maintaining 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 not well equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are simply designed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap32 allergens and stop 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. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove 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 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 become impractical for residential situations. 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 advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality AC filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving 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 determining whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the perfect 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 best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
- Choose the proper filter size: Air filters come in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens more efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible performance. A good rule of thumb is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, replacing 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 perfect air filtration system for your home. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.