AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people experience 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 correct AC filter is imperative. Learn which air filter ratings are best for people living with allergies and recommendations for identifying the right air conditioner filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are materials that trigger 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:

  • Pollen
  • Ragweed
  • 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. Having 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 not well equipped to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only designed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from invading your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap allergens and stop them from circulating inside your home.

The most effective air conditioner 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 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 reduces 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 tiny 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 slow airflow so severely that they are not practical for residential properties. Contact a professional before buying a HEPA filter to find out if your air conditioning system is compatible.

Are Allergy Filters Worth the Money?

While allergy air filters for an AC tend to be higher priced than standard filters, the rewards usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, paying for a high-quality air conditioning filter for allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. Plus, utilizing a filter with a higher MERV rating can lengthen your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and function effectively. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when deciding whether to buy yourself one.

Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter

Identifying the right air filter is necessary for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and strategies to help you choose the most appropriate AC filter for allergies:

  • Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating appropriate for your needs. For the majority of allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 features the very best balance between allergen capture and airflow efficiency.
  • Choose the proper filter size: Air filters are made in various sizes, so select one that fits your HVAC system exactly. Incorrectly sized filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s efficiency. Read your HVAC system’s manual or reach out to a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
  • Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for capturing allergens and are typically more effective than flat panel filters. Those that have electrostatic characteristics are even better. 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 routinely: Once you put in a filter, remind yourself to change it often for maximum performance. The general rule is to exchange disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
  • Seek advice from a professional: If you’re not sure 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 has allergies, asthma or other respiratory ailments, upgrading your AC 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 perfect 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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