Pollen. Animal allergens. Mold spores. These and other allergens can affect the quality of the air inside your home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency describes indoor air pollution as one of the top five environmental health risks. For people with allergies, scientific studies have shown that air filtration reduces these airborne allergens and may provide some relief.
Experts recommend two types of filtration:
- For a single room, look for an air cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Check to see that the filter has a CADR (clean air delivery rate) that matches the size of the room where you plan to use it.
- If your home has a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, you can turn it into a “whole house” filtration system by installing a better permanent or disposable air filter. The most cost-efficient choice is a disposable filter with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 to 13 — the higher the MERV rating the better. The filter will catch particles such as pollen, pet allergens and mold, and it won’t impede the airflow. It’s nearly impossible to adequately clean a permanent filter of the tiny particles that cause allergies. In many cases you may replace a permanent filter with a disposable filter that you can throw away when it’s full — typically every three months.