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, picking out the right AC filter is vital. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people coping with allergies and tips for identifying the right air conditioner filter.
Allergens and Indoor Air Quality
Allergens are materials that generate 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 be found on surfaces, causing discomfort for allergy sufferers when inhaled, ingested or coming in contact with eyes. Keeping 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?
Traditional AC filters are not designed to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely developed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne substances from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to catch allergens and stop them from circulating throughout your home.
The ideal AC filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which measures their effectiveness at capturing small particles on a scale of 1 to 20. Case in point, a MERV 8 filter can trap 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 reduces airborne allergens for welcome relief.
Be aware 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 extremely good at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters restrict airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential properties. Consult a professional before buying a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.
Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?
While allergy air filters for air conditioners are often more expensive than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality air conditioner filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain superior indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Additionally, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and work effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to invest in one.
Tips for Choosing an AC Filter
Identifying the best air filter is crucial for good IAQ and less severe allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the perfect AC filter for allergies:
- Consider the MERV rating: Choose a filter with a MERV rating that best matches 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 appropriate filter size: Air filters come in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system perfectly. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the correct filter size.
- Try a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a greater surface area for catching allergens and are generally more effective than flat panel filters. Those with electrostatic characteristics are even better. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and catch allergens more efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
- Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you install a filter, don’t forget to change it often for maximum performance. The general rule 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 uncertain 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, upgrading your HVAC system’s filter is one of the best 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 household. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.
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