Gearing Up for the Battle Against Spring Allergens

Hint: Your HVAC filter matters

Springtime. The weather has turned, the grass is green, and… allergen riddled pollen fills the air, making 58 million Americans seasonally miserable! You can’t control the great outdoors, but you can take charge of what happens inside your home. Specifically, the furnace filter you choose determines which allergens stay trapped and then get passed onto you. This post will educate you on what kind of filter is right for you and your family, especially if you have allergy sufferers in the home.

Not all HVAC filters are made equal. The MERV scale (minimum efficiency recording value) rates each one from 1 to 20, with 20 being the highest level of particle filtration. It’s important to understand the implications of what you’re buying.

Filters by Category

Flat-Panel Filters: MERV Rating: 1-4, Purpose: More to protect your furnace than to actually improve air quality

Medium Efficiency: MERV Rating: 5-13, Purpose: Generally sufficient for most residences. Virtually all pollen and plant spores will be caught by an 8+ MERV rated filter

High Efficiency: MERV Rating: 14-16, Purpose: Typically not necessary except for severe allergies or to fight tobacco smoke

HEPA Filters: MERV Rating: 17-20, Purpose: Generally not recommended for residential use, as it can stress and damage the average home HVAC

What you buy matters. That cheapo filter you are used to buying might get you through winter, but it will not catch the pollen in your home this spring! If you are a victim of spring allergies, we generally recommend a medium-efficiency filter with a MERV rating of 8-10. Custom solutions are possible for severe circumstances and those looking to replace or upgrade their HVAC system. A licensed professional at Owens can advise and walk through every step.

(Editor’s Note: This article focuses on filters and allergens. See post on indoor air-quality for tips on improving the overall quality of air in your home.)