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Air Filters and the Allergens They Eliminate

Air filters do more than protect HVAC equipment – they can safeguard your health. Proven more effective in studies than HEPA portable air cleaning units, high-efficiency HVAC filtration can be an important first line of defense for allergy and asthma sufferers, reducing triggers by sifting out airborne contaminants to provide cleaner indoor air.

What’s the Best Air Conditioner Filter for Allergies?

  • MERV 1-4
    Cheap - but minimal filtration, including:
    • Household dust
      Dust varies in toxicity, depending on makeup, which can be anything from skin cells and dirt to pollutant particles from hobbies or nearby manufacturing facilities and power stations.
    • Lint
      Lint from clothes and other items in your home can carry a dangerous cocktail of chemicals including detergents, softeners, and fabric preservatives that can cause respiratory inflammation and distress, central nervous system disorders, and even cancer.
    • Pollen
      Pollen can be extremely bothersome for allergy suffers, and even worse for those with asthma, going beyond sneezing to result in anaphylaxis in hyper-sensitive individuals.
    • Dust mites
      25% of allergies and 50% of asthma occurrences are attributable to dust mites, which consume skin cells, dust and pollen, and can crawl up your nose from furnishings when you sleep.
  • MERV 5-8
    Ideal for most homes and systems, this range captures smaller, allergy-inducing particles, yet does not restrict airflow, removing all of the above, as well as...
    • Dust mites debris
      Dust mite excrement contains a host of allergens that can cause severe reactions in allergy and asthma sufferers, with a single mite producing up to 2,000 in their short life cycle.
    • Bacteria
      Excreted by you or carried in from other locations, bacteria ranging from normal and non-pathogenic to dangerous tuberculosis, pneumonia, and legionella may be found airborne in your home.
    • Mold
      20% are allergic to mold spores, but even those who are not can be effected by toxic compounds – mycotoxins – emitted by some species, suffering flu systems, respiratory issues, headache, and fatigue.
  • MERV 9-12
    For those with severe allergies, asthma, or multiple pets, this higher efficiency could help you breathe easier, but may require a blower motor boost to counteract the airflow restriction caused by the filter’s tighter weave. This range filters all of the above, plus…
    • Pet dander
      Lightweight and small, skin cells from pets can remain suspended in the air for a long time, triggering asthma and allergies in effected individuals.
    • Smoke
      Cigarette smoke and smoke from fires releases toxic particulate matter that can get into your lungs, causing an array of reactions from asthma attacks and acute bronchitis to stroke, heart attack, cancer and death with long-term exposure.
    • Virus carriers
      Family member sick? Stop the spread of viruses via coughs and sneezes with the help of the right air filter.
    • Microscopic allergens
      The smaller the particle, the greater the chance of lung and bloodstream penetration.
  • MERV 13-16
    This high level of filtration is typically reserved for hospitals, commercial, and other specialty applications like smoking lounges.

To Remain Effective, Filters Must Be Changed Regularly

Though air filters offer tremendous opportunity for improving air through the removal of allergens, they have also been known to increase allergy and asthma risk. How? Neglecting maintenance, which can leave dirty air filters to become a source for contaminants, particularly fungal spores. This is simply and easily fixed by changing your filter every 30-45 days. Here’s how to handle it properly.

Thinking About an Upgrade?

High-efficiency filters sometimes require HVAC system modifications, as all that extra filtering action can bog down airflow. Even MERV 8 filters may require modifications on older furnaces and air conditioners, which when originally installed, came with a MERV 4 or lower filter. Your HVAC contractor should be able to make adjustment to compensate for this, however, just be sure to verify filter compatibility in advance to avoid system damage.

Safeguard your health – and the health of your HVAC system. Contact Aire Serv® to learn more about an air filter upgrade today.