AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more difficult to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, selecting the appropriate AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people with allergies and recommendations for choosing the right AC filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are materials 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:

    • Pollen
    • Ragweed
    • 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 a critical part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to remove allergens is a key component.

Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Traditional AC filters are not designed to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are simply designed 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 prevent them from circulating throughout your home.

The ideal air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which indicates their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For example, a MERV 8 filter can catch 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 reduces airborne allergens for much-needed 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 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 slow airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential applications. Contact a professional before buying 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 are typically more expensive than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioning filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Additionally, using a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to invest in one.

Tips for Choosing an AC Filter

Identifying the best 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 optimal AC 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 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 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 correct filter size.
    • Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are best of all. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap allergens more effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
    • Replace your filter regularly: Once you put in a filter, remember to change it often for maximum performance. A good strategy is to switch out disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
    • Seek advice from a professional: If you’re unsure 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, improving your air conditioner’s filter is one of the easiest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you choose and install the correct air filtration system for your home. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.

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