Many people are afflicted by 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 amount of allergens in your home, picking out the appropriate AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and guidelines for finding11 the right AC filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that trigger 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:
- Wildfire smoke
- Smog and ozone
These allergens can drift in the air or accumulate on surfaces, causing irritation for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping clean indoor air is an important part of managing allergy symptoms, and using an effective AC filter to remove allergens is a key component.
Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?
Regular AC filters are ill-equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only supposed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to catch32 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 denotes37 their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. For instance, 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 conditioning filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-needed relief.
Please keep in mind44 that MERV ratings of 17 to 20 describe high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters designed to capture at least 99.97 percent of particles as small 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 applications. Seek advice from51 a professional before buying a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Cost?
While allergy air filters for an AC are often more expensive than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioner filter for allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. Plus, using 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 making the decision of whether to buy yourself one.
Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter
Picking out the best air filter is crucial for good IAQ and a reduction in 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: Choose a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers 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 on by, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Refer to your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
- Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have more surface area for capturing allergens and are generally 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 comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter regularly: Once you select a filter, remind yourself to change it often for the best possible performance. The general rule is to replace 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 uncertain about which filter is right 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 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 can help you choose118 and install the perfect air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please contact a Service Experts office near you today.