Are Allergen Air Filters Worth the Investment?

When it comes to air filters, it's important to weigh all your options. Do you have pets that shed their hair? Are any members of your family suffering from environmental allergies? These are all factors to consider when deciding which type of air filter is best for your home. Household HVAC air filters are rated according to their MERV classification, with most household filters falling between 1 and 13. HEPA filters, which filter bacteria and viruses, are rated higher than 13 and are useful for people with serious respiratory conditions, such as emphysema. However, these filters can be expensive and may increase your energy costs.

More expensive air filters, such as pleated residential filters, can filter out dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold, and even bacteria. This can be worthwhile for those with long-haired cats and dogs, environmental allergies, or a family member with asthma. We evaluate how well an air filter removes dust, pollen, and smoke from the air, and see how freely air flows through the filter at any fan speed. If you can find a reusable filter that captures the types of contaminants you need to filter for your family, then you could pay more money upfront and save money in the long run.

If the filter is too restrictive, you can install a media filter that has more surface area or place a larger filter slot. An electrostatic air filter is a washable air filter that uses static electricity to capture particles. Compared to the cheaper basic filters available, medium-efficiency MERV filters can greatly reduce airborne dust, mold spores, pollen and even smoke. According to an NIH review, this may help alleviate respiratory illnesses.

In general, more expensive air filters are more effective than cheaper ones. However, a single person without pets and without allergies might not need as much filtration as a family of five with three pets and a child with asthma. It's important to consider all factors before making a decision on which type of air filter is best for your home.

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