AC Filters for People with Allergies
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 existence of allergens in your home, selecting the appropriate AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people coping with allergies and guidelines for finding the right air conditioning system filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are substances that cause allergic reactions in some 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 be in the air or settle on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is a significant 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 designed to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are only supposed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to catch allergens and restrict them from circulating through your home.
The best air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures 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 capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to remove at least 99.97 percent of particles as small 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 slow airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential properties. Contact 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 air conditioners are typically higher priced than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can extend your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to buy yourself one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the most appropriate AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers the optimal 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 exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right on by, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those that make use of electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you install a filter, remember 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 instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
- Seek advice from a professional: If you’re uncertain about which filter is the most suitable 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 conditions, upgrading your HVAC system’s filter is one of the easiest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you find and install the perfect air filtration system for your household. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.
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