The Link Between Your Air Conditioner's Filter And Allergies

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Air duct cleaning represents one of the best ways to reduce allergy problems caused by your air conditioner. Yet it is equally important to equip your AC with a filter capable of removing irritants like dust, pollen and pet dander from the air inside your home. If you would like to learn more about the role your air conditioner's filter does--or doesn't play--in your allergies, read on. This article will present three important things to be aware of.

Standard air filters are designed with your equipment in mind.

First and foremost, air conditioning filters are intended as a way to protect sensitive components from contaminant related damage. You see, if things like dirt and dust are allowed to get into the system, the will increase the amount of friction and wear to which your air conditioner is exposed. In removing such airborne debris, a regular filter also helps to reduce the levels of some potential allergens.

That said, standard air filters are not designed to filter out the smallest types of particles. From bacteria to fungal spores to pollen, these irritants are so tiny as to pass through the filter unimpeded. As a result, they may end up leading to allergic attacks--even while you are inside of your home.

HEPA filters trap potential allergens.

As noted above, standard filters are simply too permissive to stop tiny allergens from entering your home. In order to successfully protect your family from allergens, you will instead need to invest in some HEPA filters. HEPA is an acronym that stands for high energy particulate air filtration. These filters are composed of densely interwoven layers of fiberglass. This allows them to trap much smaller particles, thus keeping your air clean and clear.

There are variations between different types of HEPA filters.

Simply slapping the first HEPA filter you find into your air conditioner may not end up yielding the results you are hoping for. That's because there is a large amount of variety between different models of HEPA filter. These differences are distinguished by means of the so-called MERV rating.

MERV is an acronym that stands for minimum efficiency reporting value. An air filter may contain a MERV rating of between 1 and 20. A higher MERV rating means that the filter is more efficient at removing particulate matter between 0.3 and 10 microns in size. This rating system is utilized for all air filters. Standard filters generally have very low MERV ratings--between 1 and 4. HEPA filters, on the other hand, more commonly have higher ratings. To minimize the threat of allergy problems, select a HEPA filter with the highest possible MERV rating.