AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people experience allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to control symptoms. If your goal is to improve IAQ and limit the presence of allergens in your home, installing the correct AC filter is essential. Learn which air filter ratings are the most useful for people living with allergies and recommendations for finding the right AC filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are substances that generate allergic reactions in sensitive 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 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 a significant 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 well equipped to cut down on allergy symptoms. Most are merely designed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne contaminants from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is required to trap allergens and prevent them from circulating throughout your home.

The ideal 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 instance, a MERV 8 filter can catch pollen and mold spores, while a MERV 13 filter can also remove very small smoke particles and large bacteria. An allergy AC filter with a high enough MERV rating reduces airborne allergens for much-appreciated relief.

Be aware 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 highly effective at removing allergens like dust, mold spores, bacteria and viruses from the air, most HEPA filters limit airflow so severely that they become impractical for residential situations. 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 tend to be more expensive than standard filters, the advantages usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, investing in a high-quality air conditioning filter for allergies helps maintain good indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, improving overall health and well-being. In addition, installing a filter with a higher MERV rating can prolong your HVAC system’s life by helping it stay clean and run efficiently. Remember these long-term benefits of allergy filters when making the decision of whether to buy yourself one.

Techniques for Choosing an AC Filter

Selecting the right air filter is vital for good IAQ and a reduction in allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the optimal HVAC system 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 provides the optimal 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 precisely. Ill-fitting filters allow allergens to blow right into your HVAC system, undermining the filter’s usefulness. Read your HVAC system’s manual or ask a professional for help determining the right filter size.
  • Try 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 make use of electrostatic characteristics are better yet. The electrostatic charge helps these filters attract and trap 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 maximum performance. A good strategy is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the recommended replacement interval.
  • Contact a professional: If you’re not sure about which filter is best 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 suffers from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, 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 find and install the perfect air filtration system for your residence. For more details about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.

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