For some people, the changes of fall bring joy with blooming flowers, lush grass, and blossoming tree leaves. However, for others, it means out-of-control pollen causing reactions to allergens brought about by the changing season. When allergies take over, it’s tempting to stay in the safety of your air-conditioned home. Unfortunately, without a proper air filter, allergens from outside can still enter your home and cause you to sniffle and sneeze your way through the season.
How Air Filters Work
The filter’s job is to make the air that exits much cleaner than the air that enters by trapping common allergens such as pollen, mold, bacteria, dust mites, and dander. These filters are usually placed in your heating or air conditioning unit so that the air must pass through the filter before circulating your home. While general air filters catch large airborne particles, there are specific air filters that can do even more to prevent allergens from passing through.
How to Compare Air Filters
There are several types of air filters to choose from for your home, but how do you compare them? Deciphering between air filters is easy by comparing their minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV rating. The MERV rating is a number between 1 and 16; the higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the air filter. A filter with a high MERV rating traps the majority of particles and prevents even the smallest pollen from passing through. A filter with a lower MERV rating will still filter out large particles but will allow smaller pollutants to pass through, making this type of filter inadequate for allergy-prone homeowners.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are an ideal choice for homeowners wishing to prevent allergens from entering their home. HEPA filter’s fine mesh captures most particles, allowing only the purest air to circulate through. While most air filters use the MERV scale, HEPA filters surpass these ratings, scoring about a 17 to 20 hypothetically. These extremely efficient air filters are ideal for filtering particles out of the air, but they do not prevent gaseous substances from entering. Therefore, it is recommended to combine an activated carbon filter with your HEPA filter to avoid both particle and gaseous pollutants- the perfect combination for those with allergies!
The Right Air Filter For You
A HEPA filter will eliminate more allergens than any other competitor, making this the best choice if you suffer from severe allergies. However, HEPA filters are much more expensive than other options, and your HVAC unit may need to be updated or modified to accommodate this choice. If you’re looking for a cost-efficient solution, then a cheaper air filter with a high MERV rating will still do a great job eliminating pollutants and compares very similarly to that of a HEPA filter.
What to Consider
As air must pass through your filter before entering your home, the thickness of your filter will affect the overall airflow as it circulates your home. Acting as a barrier between the outside air and your home, the stronger the filter, the thicker the barrier. Therefore, adjustments to the airflow may need to be implemented to compensate for the filter change. If needed, call a professional to help modify any equipment so that you can be content with the airflow through your home and new air filter.
An Allergy-free August
Any relief when suffering from allergies is helpful, and installing the perfect filter can do just that. By trapping the majority of unwanted particles from the outer air, a thicker filter can keep your home allergen free. In addition to changing your air filter, vacuuming, changing the sheets, and frequently cleaning window coverings can help to eliminate external particles. With a clean home and an advanced air filter, you will be prepared to conquer the upcoming season.