Allergy Season: 2 AC Mistakes That Make It Worse

June 21, 2017

No one’s excited that allergy season is here. But what if we told you that you’re accidentally aggravating your allergy symptoms if you’re making 2 common AC mistakes?

It’s true. These 2 air filter mistakes can actually worsen your allergy symptoms:

  • Not changing your air filter

  • Not using the right air filter

To make your home a safe haven from those miserable allergy symptoms, let’s take a closer look at these mistakes and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Not changing your air filter

You air filter is designed to do two things:

  1. Protect your AC equipment from dirt, dust and other harmful debris

  2. Protect your home (and you) from dirt and other harmful air contaminants

But if you don’t change it on a regular basis, the air filter quickly gets clogged. You’ll know your filter is clogged if it looks like the filter to the right below.

Dirty Vs Clean Fiberglass Air Filter1

So how exactly does a clogged filter affect you? Well, a clogged filter stops trapping the dirt and contaminants it should, which means your home could quickly be coated with:

  • Pollen

  • Pet allergens

  • Mold

  • Dust

  • Dirt

But now here’s the tricky part: If you’re using the wrong air filter, it won’t matter how often you change the air filter since it likely isn’t going to catch the contaminants at all.

Let’s take a closer look at what the “wrong” filter looks like.

Mistake #2: Not using the right air filter

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, a disposable filter with a MERV of 13 is the best option for homeowners with allergies.

So what exactly is the “MERV” of a filter? Well, MERV is simply a rating system that determines what size air contaminants a filter is designed to trap
 
The higher the MERV, the “finer” the filtration (meaning it can capture smaller contaminants). Most residential air filters have a MERV rating anywhere from 1 to 16 but MERV ratings can go all the way up to 20.
 
To give you an idea of what a filter with a MERV of 13 can capture, let’s compare it to a filter with a MERV of 8:

A MERV 8 filter can trap:

  • Pollen

  • Dust/lint

  • Dust mites

  • Debris

  • Pet Dander

A MERV 13 filter can trap:

  • Pollen

  • Dust/lint

  • Dust mites

  • Debris

  • Pet Dander

  • Mold spores

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Smoke/fumes

  • Bacteria

  • Virus carriers

  • Small allergens

Bottom line?

So the bottom line for all of you allergy sufferers: Use a filter with a MERV of at least 13 and check it once a month, replacing it when there’s a thin layer of dirt covering the filter.

Note: The higher the MERV, the faster the filter will clog. And a severely clogged filter can result in a pressure drop in your AC system, so we suggest using a thick, pleated filter with a MERV of at least 13.

Have questions about your indoor air quality?

If you’re not sure what kind of filter you should be using or if you have other air quality concerns, just contact us.

We can inspect your AC system and give you tips on how to improve your home’s air quality.

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