We all welcome spring after the long dreary months of winter. But, the fair weather also brings pollen — followed by other allergens like mold and mildew that come with the spring and summer heat and humidity.
If you or someone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies, you want to take refuge from all these allergens in the filtered atmosphere of your air-conditioned home. But, your air may not be as filtered as you think, causing you to have allergies inside and outside.
The primary job of most HVAC air filters is to protect your equipment from debris and dust particles that will clog the motors and fans and keep the system from running efficiently. While basic paper air filters do help keep the dust level down, they’re not designed to filter out things like pet dander, bacteria, or smoke. These can easily slip through and get circulated through your ductwork and into your house.
If you want to reduce the microscopic particles that cause all the misery of sneezing and wheezing, you need special air filters designed to trap allergens. High energy particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, are densely packed layers of fiberglass crisscrossed in a pattern that traps more than 99 percent of pollen, dust, and smoke particles.
To get the best results from your filter, check the minimum efficiency reporting system (MERV) rating. These range from 1 to 12, and the higher the number, the better they are at filtering out the smallest particles, including several types of pollen. Ideally you want a MERV rating of 10 or higher, and you should have them changed every other month.