Breathe Easier During Allergy Season

little girl sneezing

Ahhh, October! A month of harvest, end of summer campouts, back-to-school events, and, in central Kentucky, ragweed season. For those suffering from severe ragweed and grass pollen allergies, this month means stocking up on tissues, allergy meds, eye drops, and staying inside with the air conditioning on full blast until it rains. 

However, if this is your allergy plan, there’s one thing you might want to check to make sure you’re breathing in as pollen-free and particulate-free air as possible: your HVAC filter.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends buying a filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of 13 to 16 to keep tiny allergens and pollen out of your indoor air. This type of HVAC filter with a MERV of 13 and above captures fine particulates and microorganisms of 0.3 micrometers and greater. This type of filter is disposable, attaches to the furnace or HVAC unit, and needs replacing every three months.

Merv Rating chart

Another filter is the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. These are the most commonly known and readily available. However, they are separate from the existing HVAC system and must be compatible with it. The HEPA filter also requires a separate fan

 

Air filter, HEPA filter

Media filters trap up to 40% more particles as small as 0.1 microns.

 Another type of filter that keeps pollens and tiny pollutants at bay is the media air filter. This type of filter has its housing and is thicker with more pleats than traditional filters. Because it’s thicker, air travels through the pleats, trapping up to 40% more particles as small as 0.1 microns. With a media filter, make sure the filter and the HVAC speeds match, so the clean air disperses evenly throughout your home. Media filters only need changing every six months to up to two years, depending on HVAC maintenance checks.

UV lights

UV air filters can also aid in controlling pollen and VOCs before they enter your breathing room. This is a short wave light that effectively kills germs, bacteria, microbes, and other pollutants that may aggravate your seasonal allergies. The UV lights are added in addition to your HVAC system. However, your HVAC will still require actual air filters to continue keeping fine particulates and pollutants.

UV light air filters can cut viruses and pathogens BEFORE it gets into the air ducts.

However, in the COVID environment today, UV light air filters can cut viruses and pathogens BEFORE it gets into the air ducts when the lights are installed by the return air duct sterilizing the air. The UV lights also curb mold production and buildup in the HVAC system itself.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, eliminating indoor air pollutants at the source is one of the most crucial and effective steps to more comfortable breathing spaces. Using thicker, MERV 13-16 rated filters, adding a separate media filter, and adding UV lights are great ways to curb ragweed, grass, or any number of natural pollutants that can enter your home. When considering a whole-home air filtration system, look for the Certified Asthma and Allergy-Friendly sticker on products. This certification means that the product passed rigorous indoor and outdoor pollutant tests and did not emit ozone, per the EPA standards.

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends buying a filter with a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of 13 to 16.

Indoor air quality is crucial to healthy living. You don’t eat contaminated food or drink dirty water; the air inside your home should be treated with the same scrutiny and cleansing process. Whether you’re using a 13-16 MERV-rated filter, add a HEPA filter, or use UV lights, your indoor air quality will smell fresh and clean, regardless of the outdoors. 

Ready to install a cleaner air filter? Call Climate Control today!