AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or more challenging to deal with the unpleasant symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the amount of allergens in your home, choosing the right AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people living with allergies and recommendations for choosing the right AC filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are materials that trigger allergic reactions in sensitive 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 drift in the air or be found on surfaces, causing problems 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?

Standard AC filters are not well equipped to reduce allergy symptoms. Most are only developed to reduce dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is necessary to catch allergens and restrict them from circulating through your home.

The ideal air conditioning system filters for allergies have a high minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating, which denotes 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 capture smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy air conditioner filter with a high enough MERV rating minimizes airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.

Know 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 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 applications. Seek advice from a professional before installing 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 typically more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, boosting overall health and well-being. Plus, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function correctly. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to buy yourself one.

Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter

Picking out the correct 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 air conditioner 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 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. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
  • Think about a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for catching 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 efficiently than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
  • Replace your filter routinely: Once you install 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.
  • Consult a professional: If you’re not sure 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 most appropriate air filtration system for your residence. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please call a Service Experts office near you today.

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