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AC Filters for People with Allergies

Many people suffer from allergies, and indoor air quality (IAQ) either makes it easier or harder to deal with the unpleasant 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 preferred for people living with allergies and recommendations for identifying the right AC filter.

Allergens and Indoor Air Quality

Allergens are elements that cause 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:

    • 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 remove allergens is a key component.

Do Filters Help Reduce Allergy Symptoms?

Traditional AC filters are not designed to lessen allergy symptoms. Most are only developed to stop dust particles, textile fibers and other large airborne materials from entering your HVAC system. A higher-end filter is needed to trap allergens and prevent them from circulating through your home.

The best AC 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. For instance, a MERV 8 filter can capture 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 minimizes airborne allergens for welcome 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 slow airflow so severely that they are not well-suited for residential properties. 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 Cost?

While allergy air filters for air conditioners are often higher priced than standard filters, the benefits usually outweigh the costs for allergy sufferers. After all, spending money on a high-quality AC filter to help reduce allergies helps maintain excellent indoor air quality and reduces allergy symptoms, strengthening overall health and well-being. In addition, 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 determining whether to purchase one.

Recommendations for Choosing an AC Filter

Selecting the best air filter is crucial for good IAQ and fewer allergy symptoms. Here are some essential tips and methods to help you choose the most appropriate air conditioner filter for allergies:

    • Consider the MERV rating: Pick a filter with a MERV rating that best matches your needs. For many allergy sufferers, a filter rated MERV 11 to 13 offers 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. Filters that are the wrong size allow allergens to blow right through the filter, undermining the filter’s effectiveness. Consult your HVAC system’s manual or contact a professional for help determining the proper filter size.
    • Opt for a pleated electrostatic filter: Pleated filters have a larger surface area for collecting 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 trap allergens more effectively than standard filters with comparable designs and materials.
    • Replace your filter routinely: Once you put in a filter, remember to change it often for the best possible performance. The general rule is to replace disposable filters every 30 to 90 days, but check the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended replacement interval.
    • Contact a professional: If you’re uncertain 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, upgrading your HVAC system’s filter is one of the simplest things you can do to manage your symptoms. Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help you select and install the correct air filtration system for your home. For more suggestions about our indoor air quality services, please reach out to a Service Experts office near you today.

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