It’s still cold in Harford County, but it won’t be long before grass starts turning greener, leaves sprout on trees, and flowers start popping up. If you tend to suffer from spring allergies, now is actually a great time to be proactive about keeping those allergens out of your indoor air.
The Best Air Filter for Allergies
When pollen counts are high, allergists advise that you take refuge indoors. The problem is that your furnace and air conditioner can’t filter out allergens without the right air filter. To make your indoor air the most breathable, it pays to learn a little about HVAC filters.
Regular HVAC Filters Only Protect HVAC Equipment
While many people believe that traditional paper air filters keep allergens out of the air, their main purpose is to keep dust out of the furnace and AC to prevent damage and keep them running efficiently. Yes, regular paper HVAC filters do remove some dust from the air when changed regularly, but they’re really just made to trap large particles like dust so they don’t accumulate on the motor and fans. Mold, bacteria, and pollen particles are much smaller and slip through the fibers of those paper filters, where they get circulated through ductwork and blown back into your living space.
Only HEPA Filters Trap Allergens
Air filters for allergies are called HEPA filters, or “high energy particulate air filters.” They are designed to block much smaller particles, so your air stays cleaner. HEPA filters are not made from paper but rather from densely packed layers of glass fibers, so they’re able to trap more than 99 percent of pollen, dust and even smoke particles and keep them out of your indoor air.
A Higher MERV Rating is Better for Allergies
Not all HEPA filters are created equal, so HVAC air filters are rated based on the size of particles they can trap. The rating system is called the minimum efficiency reporting system, or MERV, and the range goes from from MERV 1 to MERV 12, with the higher number capable of removing the tiniest particles. If you suffer from allergies, you will want to choose a MERV rating of 10 or higher. Here’s a breakdown of HEPA filter MERV ratings:
MERV 1 to 4: Minimal filtration. Typically disposable fiberglass or synthetic panel filters within a cardboard frame, and capture up to 80% of airborne particles as small as 10 microns.
MERV 5 to 8: Captures dust and mold spores. Have to be replaced about every 3 months. A MERV 8 air filters reduces pollen, pet dander, and dust as small as 3.0 microns.
MERV 9 to 12: Captures up to 95% of airborne particles such as pollen, dust mites and mold spores, as small as 1.0 microns. Deep pleated, boxed media or bag filters which are the most efficient filters for homes and commercial buildings.
Air Filters Aren’t the Only Way to Prevent Indoor Allergies
Using a HEPA filter for allergies will make a big difference in your ability to breathe indoors, but if you haven’t kept up with heating and cooling maintenance visits, you may have debris buildup on blower fans and in ductwork. Since the air you breathe cycles through the HVAC system up to 7 times a day, a years’ worth of dust, pollen and other debris could be blowing into your home.
The first thing you need to do is schedule a maintenance appointment to have your equipment cleaned, and then consider having ducts inspected to determine if you could benefit from duct cleaning service. Allergens such as dust, pet dander, pollen, and even mold and mildew could be lurking in your ducts and causing breathing problems.
One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning Cares About Your Indoor Air Quality
If you’re concerned about your allergies during spring or any time throughout the year, we’d love to tell you how we can help. We can recommend a HEPA filter that’s best for you, inspect and clean your ducts, and tell you about our advanced air cleaning systems like MicroPower Guard®, designed to remove the smallest particles from the air. So give us a call so we can help make your indoor air more breathable!