How You Can Manage Spring Allergies With Your HVAC System
It’s that season where it rains pollen here in North Carolina! If you’re the type of person who gets allergies, then you know it’s a rough time of year.
Luckily, there are a few ways your HVAC system can make you more comfortable while you’re indoors!
Once Spring has sprung, the sneezing, coughing, and irritated eyes come out to play. But you can make your season a little less miserable by controlling the allergens inside your building. The indoor allergen levels can actually be way higher than those outdoors.
Common indoor allergens include dust, mold, pollen, and pet dander. By controlling these allergens in your building, you can reduce your allergic reactions, at least while you’re at work.
What’s the best way to control these allergens?
Choosing the filter you use for your HVAC system is pivotal to controlling these indoor allergens, and not all HVAC air filters are the same.
Your HVAC System’s air filter is rated by MERVs – Minimum Efficiency Recording Value. MERVs values will always be between 1 – 20. An air filter with a MERV rating of 1 provides a low level of particle filtration, and one with a MERV rating of a 20 then has a very high level of filtration.
You can also separate the types of filters by their MERV rating:
A filter with a MERV rating of 1 – 4 is a flat panel filter. They’re usually installed by your furnace manufacturer and are only designed to protect your furnace. They won’t affect your indoor air quality.
A filter with a MERV rating of 5 – 13 is a medium efficiency filter. They’re pleated filters and also have a higher surface area, which allows them to filter more particles out of the air.
A filter with a MERV rating of 14 – 16 is a high efficiency filter. As you can guess, they’re more effective than the pleated, medium efficiency filters and can remove particles that are even smaller.
A filter with a MERV rating of 17 – 20 is a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. Typically you won’t use a HEPA filter in a building with central air conditioning. They don’t go well with the high energy of your HVAC system – in fact, they can be so efficient that they require more energy to keep air circulating.
Both the higher efficiency and HEPA filters can stress out your HVAC system. So the best filter for your system is a medium efficiency filter with a MERV rating between 5 and 13.
You also need to keep up with your annual and monthly maintenance on your HVAC system, changing the filters and keeping an eye out for any possible problems in your system, to keep the air in your building clear of indoor allergens like pollen and dust.