Do Air Filters Stop Pollen? An Expert's Guide

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of dust, pollen and any particles in the air with a size of 0.3 microns. That means they could help eliminate airborne pet dander. Allergy air filters are designed to block much smaller particles, so the air stays cleaner. They are called “high energy particulate air filters” or, more commonly, HEPA filters.

It is important to remember to change the filter regularly, usually every 3 months. A professional HVAC company must install a whole-house HEPA filter and it must be the right size for your air handling unit, to protect the life of the equipment and ensure that air passes through and not around the HEPA filter. Improperly sized air filtration systems can cause the unit to freeze or burn and, in some cases, void the manufacturer's warranty. For homes without central HVAC, or if you have pets indoors, a HEPA room air purifier may be beneficial. It is still important to take care of deposited dust deposits and keep pets out of the bedroom.

The room air purifier must be suitable for cleaning the air in the room in which it is being used. Don't expect it to clean an entire house and remember: only particles that pass through the air filter will be captured. Air purifiers work to reduce the amount of pollen in the air, which in turn should relieve allergy symptoms. However, results will vary from person to person. The exact operation of an air purifier will vary depending on the size of the room you are in, the local climate, the model of the purifier, and your own personal health.

Honeywell got into legal trouble for exaggerating the effectiveness of its air purifiers, so be wary of bold claims from manufacturers. In addition, there are other things happening in your home that can affect effectiveness, such as ventilation (windows open or closed) and new particles that constantly emerge, so the air may not be as filtered as the claims lead you to believe. Most particles that trigger allergy and asthma symptoms, such as dust mites and mold spores, are transported through the air for a short period of time and then deposited. Paper filters commonly used in your oven and air conditioner are designed to trap large particles, such as dust, that can build up in the motor and fans and reduce efficiency. These particles are small and light, measuring only 2.5 microns, which means they can stay in the air for some time. Learn the facts about choosing the right air filters for allergies, as well as other HVAC maintenance tips that can reduce your suffering this season.

Studies have shown that air purifiers can help people with common allergies by trapping pollen and other irritants inside their filters, but there is still little consensus on the subject. For example, activated carbon filters will be better at removing odors, but not as good at removing pollen from the air. Different air purifiers will provide varying degrees of benefits depending on your specifications and the type of filter used; a HEPA filter will remove a wider range of particles from indoor air. Particles that cause pet allergies can be removed by using an air purifier equipped with a HEPA filter. Therefore, while the results may seem encouraging, factors such as location, flow rate and operating time could affect the effectiveness of an air purifier in reducing allergy symptoms.

There is very little medical evidence to support that air purifiers directly help improve your health or relieve allergies and respiratory symptoms. Filters such as ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air) used in certain industrial or scientific environments or in cleanrooms are not suitable for the domestic environment. You might think your air conditioning system will filter out all those nasty allergens from the air, but without the right air filters for allergies, you'll keep smelling and sneezing all season long. First of all, there is no such thing as an “air purifier” or, as the name implies, an air cleaner that purifies the air. Air purifiers usually consist of a filter, or several filters, and a fan that sucks in and circulates the air.

Kristy Letman
Kristy Letman

Typical music practitioner. Professional beer enthusiast. Hipster-friendly pop culture buff. Proud travel geek. Proud social media fan.

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