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, choosing the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people living with allergies and guidelines for choosing11 the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are elements that cause 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 drift in the air or settle 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 capture allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Standard AC filters are ill-equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are merely supposed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap32 allergens and stop them from circulating inside your home.
The best AC 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 catch pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can remove smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for welcome 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 little as 0.3 microns in size. While this makes them highly 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 situations. Consult51 a professional before installing a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for AC units are often higher priced than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioning filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain good 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 efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when determining whether to purchase one.
Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter
Selecting the best air filter is crucial for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and guidelines to help you choose the perfect air conditioner filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating suited for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the best 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 through the filter, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Read your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the right filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for collecting allergens and are usually more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and capture allergens more effectively than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
- Replace your filter routinely: Once you select a filter, don't forget to change it often for optimal performance. A good strategy is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions 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 skilled Expert 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, upgrading your AC 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 most appropriate air filtration system for your home. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.