The presence of airborne allergens can trigger an allergic reaction in sensitive people. Allergens may be in the form of small fur particles from your pets, smoke, dust, or even pollen.
Having a good AC filter can solve this problem. In this review, we look at some of the best AC filters that you can use to prevent allergies.
How do I Know if My AC Filter is Dirty?
There are many ways that you can use to tell if your air filter is dirty. It is important to watch out for the signs and act on them because you do not want to keep a dirty air filter in your HVAC system.
The white paper tests
Take a clean sheet of white paper and hang it at about two inches from any of the vents in your house. Leave it hanging near the vent for at least one hour.
Remove the paper and check its color. If the color of the paper has changed to grey, know that your air filter is dirty. If the color of the paper remains white, your air filter is ultra-clean.
A sudden spike in electricity bills
Your bills may increase suddenly because of many reasons. However, if this happens and you are sure that it is not because of using a piece of new equipment that draws lots of amps from the line, consider looking at your HVAC system.
When your air filter is dirty, it fails to do its job correctly. Your entire HVAC system strains to effectively move the air and keep you either warm or cold. Therefore, a steady and sudden increase in the power bills may be a good indicator of a dirty filter.
The back of the HVAC unit becomes hot
If your air filter is dirty and clogged, it will not pass the air properly. The blower and other components of your unit will overwork. This will increase the temperature at the back of your unit.
Are allergen filters bad for HVAC?
Allergen filters are not bad for HVAC. Generally, allergen filters are unique because they are designed to capture small particles. They usually are made up of carbon-charged surfaces.
The strands are also pleated to increase the surface area of the filters. This design ensures that very minute particles such as allergens are effectively captured.
Moreover, allergen filters are unique because they have a high MERV rating. Your typical allergen filter may have a MERV rating of 14. This rating is relatively high, considering that many filters used in HVAC systems have MERV ratings ranging from 8 to 13.
The high MERV rating may be problematic to your HVAC system. It may force the blower to overwork to ensure that air moves around the house according to your needs.
If this happens to your system, you may end up paying a lot more in the form of repairs. Also, you may be forced to pay a lot for energy costs because your HVAC system’s components will be overworking to condition the air in the house.
However, you can comfortably use your allergen filter in your HVAC system if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that you replace the filter according to the instructions that the manufacturer provides.
Does a HEPA Filter Help with Allergies?
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can help with allergies. This type of air filter functions by forcing the air in the room through a thick mesh of carefully crafted and interwoven strands.
The design and type of the strands are done according to specific standards. Thus, HEPA filters can effectively trap up to 99.7% of all contaminants.
HEPA filters are ideally used in commercial settings, including in hospitals and laboratories. When placed in such places, they sufficiently capture all the microorganisms floating in the air.
However, you can use a HEPA filter in your home to prevent allergies. Allergies are triggered by microparticles that are referred to as allergens.
Allergens may be minute particles from the fur of animals, smoke, dust, or even microorganisms. Most allergens have diameters that range from 0.3 microns.
Any good HEPA filter can capture particles that are as small as 0.3 microns wide. Therefore, you can conveniently install a HEPA filter to help with allergies.
However, it is good to get a professional HVAC technician to help you with the process. The technician will assess your system’s technical capacity before deciding on the right type of HEPA filter to install.
What MERV Rating Best for Allergies?
There is not specific MERV rating that is the best for allergies. However, it would be a good idea to use an air filter with a MERV rating that ranges from 11 to 13 for your allergies.
Such air filters have the right efficiency level that you may need to capture all the allergens that usually trigger allergic reactions.
MERV ratings indicate the performance of the air filter in trapping contaminants. Generally, the higher the MERV rating, the better the air filter is in capturing small contaminants.
Air filters with very high MERV ratings can capture up to 97% of all contaminants found in the room. Moreover, such air filters can effectively trap very minute particles that measure 0.3 microns in diameter. Such particulates may include those that cause odors in the home.
Air filters with very low MERV ratings capture large contaminants, including dust and small pet hair particles. The air filters are not as efficient as those with high MERV ratings in capturing high percentages of contaminants.
Is a 2-Inch Filter Better than a 1-Inch?
A 2-inch is better than a 1-inch one because it has a more significant surface area. The surface area determines the effectiveness of an air filter. Air filters with high surface areas are more effective in capturing contaminants than those with small surface areas.
When air moves through the filter, a large percentage is captured immediately on the air filter’s surface. Luckily, other smaller particles that may not have been captured in the first instance are effectively captured when the air passes deep inside the air filter. Therefore, a 2-inch filter is better than a 1-inch one.
Also, a 2-inch air filter is better than a 1-inch air filter because it lasts longer. Your 1-inch air filter gets clogged very fast because it does not have a large surface area for collecting contaminants, including pollen, dust, and other small particles.
Therefore, if you are not interested in changing your filter quite frequently, it may be a good idea to get a 2-inch air filter.
How Often Should I Change my HVAC Filter for Allergies?
The rule of thumb is that you should change your HVAC filter for allergies as soon as the time is indicated on the cover elapses.
The manufacturers of HVAC filters indicate the time during which the device will be useful to you. This varies with the model and design. Some high-end filters can last for as long as 12 months.
This means that if you purchase a pack of air filters that contains only two or even one piece, you will get value for your money. Other brands of air filters have a timeframe of three months. It is common for brands that have 3-month periods to be packed with several other replacement filters.
Apart from relying on the periods indicated on the packaging of your air filters, you can decide to replace them when you realize that they are dirty.
You can tell by assessing the quality of air in your home. If the indoor air quality suddenly reduces and you realize that there are many allergens in the air, it may be time to change it.
In other cases, you notice that many people are developing allergic reactions at home. It means that the small particles that trigger the conditions are found in the air in your home. This happens when the filter is not working correctly. Therefore, if you notice this, replace your air filter.
How to Choose the Best AC Filters for Allergies
It may be challenging to get the right AC filter for allergies if you have little or no experience purchasing these devices. There are hundreds of brands on the market.
All of them have unique features and performance capabilities. Therefore, you need to be certain about the specific brand that you need for your home.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best AC filters for allergies.
This is the most common factor to consider when purchasing any furnace filter. The rule of thumb is that the higher the MERV, the better the filter.
Filters with high MERV ratings of about 15 can filter 99.3% of the airborne contaminants in your home. However, such filters may undermine the flow of air around the home.
Thus, it would help if you balanced between capturing contaminants and allowing the free flow of air around the system. The best air filters for allergies are between 10 and 13 MERV.
Pleated Versus Non-Pleated Air Filters
Pleated air filters have strands that are strongly interwoven. They have a higher surface area than non-pleated air filters. As a result, pleated air filters are more effective than non-pleated ones in capturing contaminants.
How to Install AC Filters for Allergies
Installing an AC filter for allergies is not any different from installing any other type of air filter. There are a few considerations that you should bear in mind when doing the job.
They are important because many people fail to adhere to them. The result is that they end up with low Indoor Air Quality and wrongly blame the filter quality.
- Ensure that the filter fits perfectly into the slot. If space remains around the filter, air will pass through the gaps. This will lead to contaminants remaining airborne in your home.
- The arrow marks on your filter should point in the direction of the flow of air. This is a primary consideration when installing any AC filter in your home. If you do not align the lines with the direction of the airflow, you will not feel any effects of using the filter.
Best AC Filters For Allergies
1. Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 1000, Micro Allergen Defense
The Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 1000, has various excellent features that you would expect to find in a high-end AC filter suitable for fighting allergies.
It has a high MERV rating of 11, which is enough to filter microscopic particles, including allergens and odors. To effectively manage allergies in your home, you need to use an AC filter with a MERV rating of at least 11.
This filter comes in a pack that contains six pieces. This means that you will get value for your money when you replace your air filter five times. Moreover, as you would expect, installing this AC filter is a breeze. There are lines drawn on it to guide you during the process.
The only significant inconvenience of using this AC filter is that it lasts for three months only. There are many other brands of filters with similar MERV ratings that last for up to six months. Luckily, it comes in a pack of six pieces.
- High Microparticle Performance Rating of 1000
- Effective in filtering contaminants because of the high MERV rating
- There are six pieces in a pack
- The filter lasts for only three months
2. Aerostar Home Max 20x20x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter
If you are looking for a versatile and useful AC filter for your home, consider using the Aerostar Home Max 20x20x1.
This filter’s relatively large size is a significant advantage because it has a large surface area and fits perfectly into your system. However, it would be better if this air filter’s inch would be 2 inches instead of 1.
More so, the air filter has an electrostatically charged synthetic surface. This surface attracts and traps a large percentage of different types of contaminants that may be found in the air in your home. The surface is effective in dealing with odors, dust, mite, and allergens.
You will enjoy the high MERV rating of 13 of these furnace filters. A MERV rating of 13 is perfect for ACs because it allows the air to flow smoothly without allowing small particles to pass and contaminant your system and the air in the home.
- Excellent filtration capabilities because of an electrostatically charged surface
- High MERV rating of 13
- The relatively large size of 20 by 20 by 1
- The filters last for a short time of only three months.
3. Arm & Hammer AF-AH22025.4 Air and Furnace Filter
The surface of the Arm & Hammer AF-AH22025.4 AC filter is specially designed to deliver exceptional filtration performance. Its strands are heavily pleated to increase the surface area and maximum the percentage of contaminants captured when they get into contact with this air filter.
Moreover, the surface comprises high-quality ingredients, including baking soda and carbon granules. The use of these ingredients enables the air filter to successfully fight off-odors and other micro granules that may trigger allergic reactions to people at home.
The best filters for trapping allergens and other very tiny granules should have a MERV rating of about 13. The Arm & Hammer AF-AH22025.4 has a MERV value of 11. Therefore, you can comfortably use it to fight contaminants that measure from 0.3 microns to 1 micron.
Sadly, there are only four pieces in every pack of this AC filter. Many other brands come in packs that contain six pieces. However, you may have to be content with the high filtration performance of this filter.
- It has pleated strands for maximum filtration performance.
- Ideal for reducing odors and capturing all allergens in indoor environments
- The filter has high-quality ingredients, including carbon granules and baking soda.
- There are only four pieces in a pack.
4. Filtrete 20x20x1, AC Furnace Air Filter
The Filtrete 20x20x1 AC Furnace Air Filter outperforms many other alternatives of keeping your indoor air quality high, including using fiberglass.
This air filter has a pleated surface that dramatically increases the surface area used to trap particles. This means that it sufficiently traps about 90% of all the particles that may be found in the air in your home.
Filters with high MERV or MPR ratings are precious for dealing with problems like foul odors and allergens. Allergic reactions are commonly caused by the presence of very tiny particles that may come from your pets’ fur. Odors come from anywhere, including kitchens and bathrooms.
The Filtrete 20x20x1 AC Furnace Air Filter has a MERV rating of 12, equivalent to 1500 MPR. This is enough for keeping your home odor and allergen-free.
Sadly, this air filter lasts for only three months. You will have to bear with the cost and inconvenience of having to replace your filter earlier than or at the end of every three months.
- Perfect for maintaining a high Indoor Air Quality
- High performance (MPR – 1500 and MERV – 12)
- Captures particles that are as small as 0.3 microns wide
- The filter lasts for 30 days only.
5. AIRx Filters 16x25x1 Air Filter
The AIRx Filters 16x25x1 can be an excellent choice of a furnace filter, thanks to its pleated surface, high MERV ratings, and the presence of carbon particles on its surface.
Furnace filters that have carbon particles on their surfaces are exceptionally successful in capturing minute contaminants. The carbon-based synthetic material on their surfaces successfully attracts and traps all types of contaminants, including pollen, smoke, dust, and other allergens.
The presence of carbon particles on this filter’s surface is complemented by a high MERV rating of 11 and pleated strands. The pleating of the strands maximizes the percentage of contaminants that this air filter traps. The high MERV rating of 11 is suitable for furnace filters supposed to prevent allergies at home.
However, this filter is 1-inch thick. Filters that are 2-inch thick are better than 1-inch-thick ones because of their increased surface areas. Such filters tend to capture larger amounts of contaminants than those which are 1-inch thick.
- Excellent in ensuring sufficient ventilation, heating, and air conditioning at home
- It can trap minute particles that are 0.3 microns wide.
- Highly durable and are moisture-resistant.
- The air filters are relatively thin because they are 1-inch in width.
6. FilterBuy 20x20x1 MERV 8 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter
One of the hallmarks of the FilterBuy 20x20x1 MERV 8 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter is its durability. It is built using high-quality materials that are moisture resistant.
You will not have to worry about your filter getting damaged soon. This gives you real value for your investment in installing this furnace filter in your HVAC system.
Another important feature of the FilterBuy 20x20x1 MERV 8 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter relates to its surface. The funnel filter has synthetic media that captures up to 90% of all airborne contaminants in your home. However, the filter is effective in trapping large contaminants, including dust and smoke.
This is because it has a relatively low MERV value of 8. The best furnace filters for creating an odor-free home environment have relatively high MERV ratings of about 12.
Nevertheless, this air filter is exceptionally useful in trapping large allergens like dust particles and keeping your Indoor Air Quality high enough for your comfort.
There are two pieces only in every pack. It means that you will have to repeatedly incur the loss of purchasing a new pack after every six months.
Some brands that come in packs that contain two pieces last much longer than three months. However, the filter still performs in capturing common airborne allergens.
- Long-lasting and durable filters
- They have synthetic media that successfully captures up to 90% of contaminants.
- Successfully filters common allergens, including dust and smoke.
- There are two pieces only in every pack.
AC filters can be the best solution for allergies. However, you need to get the right device that can protect you against allergens in the house.
Remember to check the MERV and MPR ratings of the brand that you would like to purchase. Also, ensure that the filter is installed correctly in the slot to keep your Indoor Air Quality high.