In Florida, pollen season is especially powerful. We never truly get a “break” from seasonal allergies in Florida. Different plants and trees tend to produce pollen here all year long. The heat and humidity can also contribute to other allergens such as mold and mildew.
Your HVAC filter can help protect you and your family from allergens, but there are a few things you should know before you buy one.
Use the MERV Scale
As stated in one of our previous blogs, the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV ratings can help you decide what allergen filter to buy. A regular HVAC filter, such as fiberglass options, won’t be sufficient to help filter allergens from the air. Those kinds of filters are designed to protect the equipment and keep it running smoothly, and won’t protect you and your family from allergens, dust, or mildew.
Fiberglass filters like these have a very low MERV rating and do very little to filter the air.
Allergen filters like this have a high MERV rating and are better at filtering the air.
Choosing Your MERV Rating
It is important to note exactly what number on the MERV scale your HVAC system is rated for. The higher the MERV number, the smaller the pores are to flow through your filter. If the MERV rating is too high, the HVAC unit may have to work harder to circulate air through your home, which can cause your electric bill to skyrocket. This can also sabotage your allergy efforts, as the air won’t circulate as efficiently.
To determine what number your HVAC unit is rated for, you can reference the manual. An HVAC service expert can also advise you on what’s recommended for your equipment and your area.
HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air”. While HEPA filters have become popular in recent years, they are not created equal. When choosing your HEPA filter, it’s still important to ensure the MERV rating is the best for your unit.
HEPA filters should be changed more frequently, as they gather dust and other particulates faster than regular filters. We recommend changing these filters least every three months and perhaps more frequently during the spring and summer allergy season.
Get Help From HVAC Professionals
The reality is that choosing an allergen filter is only half the battle when it comes to improving the air quality in your home. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your HVAC unit are essential to reducing airborne allergens.
Air ducts transport cool and warm air from your HVAC unit throughout your home. Over the years, air ducts can become contaminated with dust mites, insects, pollen, mildew, pet dander, and much more. This buildup of pollutants then gets blown into the air you breath—which can be dangerous especially for children, the elderly, and those with allergies. Professional air duct cleaning can remove these harmful pollutants to help improve the air that gets dispersed in your home.
The National Air Duct Cleaners Association recommends getting your air ducts cleaned every three to five years to ensure your air ducts are clear of pollutants.
In Florida, your AC most likely runs the majority of the year. Because of this, air conditioners should be cleaned and tuned by an HVAC professional at least once per year. HVAC maintenance can not only help reduce pollution in the air you breathe but can also help you save energy and lengthen the life of your unit.
Indoor allergies have become a growing problem in American homes. Staying on top of maintaining your unit can make all the difference in improving your indoor air quality.
Let Stellar Services Help You Breathe Easier
Ensuring you have chosen the best possible allergen filter for your home as well as investing in regular HVAC maintenance can give you a breath of fresh air this allergy season. If you’re unsure of what to do next and are in the Gainesville, Florida area, give us a call at (352) 290-4919 and we would be happy to help you and your family breathe easier this season.