AC Filters for People with Allergies

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 existence of allergens in your home, picking out the appropriate AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are preferred for people coping with allergies and tips for choosing the right air conditioner filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are materials that trigger allergic reactions in affected individuals. Prevalent 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 accumulate on surfaces, causing problems 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 lower the amount of allergens is a key component.

Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Standard AC filters are not designed to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are simply supposed to get rid of dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from getting into your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap allergens and stop them from circulating inside your home.

The best 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 trap 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 will lower the airborne allergens for welcome relief.

Be aware 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 extremely good at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters restrict airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential situations. Seek advice from a professional before getting a HEPA filter to help decide if your air conditioning system is compatible.

Are Allergy Filters Worth the Expense?

While allergy air filters for AC units tend to be higher priced than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter to alleviate discomfort from allergies helps maintain excellent 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 correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to invest in one.

Tips for Choosing an AC Filter

Selecting the right 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 perfect HVAC system filter for allergies:

  • Consider the MERV rating: Go with a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For most allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 provides the ideal 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 precisely. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the right filter size.
  • Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger 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 catch allergens in a more efficient manner than standard filters with similar designs and materials.
  • Replace your filter on a regular basis: Once you put in a filter, remember to change it often for optimal performance. A good strategy is to switch out 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 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 is afflicted with allergies, asthma or other respiratory conditions, improving your HVAC system’s filter is one of the easiest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you find and install the correct air filtration system for your household. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.

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