AC Filters for People with Allergies
Many people experience 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 presence of allergens in your home, choosing the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people coping with allergies and tips for finding the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that trigger 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 accumulate on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Having clean indoor air is a critical 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 lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only designed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to catch allergens and restrict them from circulating throughout your home.
The best air conditioner filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which denotes their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For instance, a MERV 8 filter can capture pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Please keep in mind 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 tiny as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them extremely good at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters limit airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential properties. Contact a professional before installing a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners are often more costly than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting 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 efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to buy yourself one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the correct air filter is necessary for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the most appropriate air conditioner 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 are offered in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Read 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 typically 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 equivalent designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, don’t forget to change it often for the best possible 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.
- Consult 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, upgrading your AC filter is one of the easiest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you select and install the perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more information about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.
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