Did you know that indoor air pollution has been listed as one of the top five environmental health risks by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? If things like pollen, pet dander, and mold spores have you itching (and sneezing) for a solution, air filtration may be the right solution. That being said, there are a variety of different filters from which to choose. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you find the ideal filter for your allergy needs.

Types of Air Filtration

Depending on your specific situation, you may have to decide between the two different types of filtration systems. For single rooms or smaller spaces, like apartments, an air cleaner that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter should suffice, provided it has a clean air delivery rate (CADR) that matches the general size of the area you’re trying to clear.

For larger spaces with central heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, you can install either a permanent or disposable air filter to turn your HVAC system into a whole house filtration system. The filter should catch airborne allergens without impeding air flow. For best results, look for a filter that has a high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. If you go with a disposable filter, it should be replaced every three months or so. Permanent ones should be cleaned just as frequently.

Facts About Air Filters for Allergies

  • The filters that come with HVAC systems are designed to protect the system, not to keep dust and other allergens out of your home. This is why it’s recommended that you replace the filter with one that’s specifically designed for allergies.
  • Air filters have three main components – capacity, airflow, and efficiency. All three things must be in balance for the filter to work properly. For instance, a filter that doesn’t hold enough of the allergens you’re filtering or one that restricts airflow will cause a problem.
  • When evaluating how well your HVAC system works to protect against allergens, don’t forget to assess your ductwork. Any leaks could be pulling in unfiltered air, hence defeating the purpose of filtering. For best results, have a professional HVAC company test your ducts and the rest of your system for leaks.
  • Some so-called “air cleaners” can actually do more harm than good. For instance, ionic electrostatic room cleaners don’t filter allergens. Instead, they release ions, which force particles to attach to surfaces, like your furniture and walls. Likewise, inexpensive fiberglass filters have been proven ineffective at removing allergens from the air. In other words, let the buyer beware.

Other Air Filtration Tips

In addition to using a quality air filter for allergies, there are a number of other things you can do to keep their air in your home clean and particle-free. For instance, you can:

  • Avoid using humidifiers and vaporizers.
  • Keep your home’s humidity level below 50%.
  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Prohibit smoking in the home.
  • Remove shoes or use a tracking mat at the door during the height of pollen season.
  • Groom pets outside the home and wash their bedding regularly.
  • Thoroughly clean bathrooms, basements and other areas of your home that have tile to reduce the chance of mold.

If you suffer from allergies, ensuring that your home is properly filtering out the irritants that are triggering your allergy symptoms is a good idea. Not sure whether your HVAC system is adequately trapping allergens? Don’t guess. Call in an HVAC professional. Parthenon Plumbing can perform a thorough inspection and ductwork cleaning to help improve the quality of your home’s air. Contact us at 615-298-2995 for a free quote or to schedule your appointment.