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 existence of allergens in your home, picking out the right AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people coping with allergies and recommendations for choosing11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that trigger allergic reactions in affected 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 settle on surfaces, causing discomfort 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 lower the amount of allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are not well equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are only developed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to trap32 allergens and stop them from circulating throughout 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 capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Be aware44 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 restrict airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential properties. Consult51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?
While allergy air filters for an AC are often more costly than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Plus, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to invest in one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is crucial for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the perfect AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For most 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 are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system precisely. Incorrectly sized filters 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.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching 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 capture allergens more effectively than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you install a filter, don't forget 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 guidelines for the recommended replacement interval.
- Contact a professional: If you’re not sure about which filter is the most suitable for your needs or how to maintain your HVAC system properly, ask an experienced technician 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 conditions, upgrading 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 perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.