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Allergy Filters

Indoor air pollution can often result from dust mites and pollen; pet hair and dander; reduced air circulation and ventilation; high concentration of organic materials; and chemicals from common household products such as toluene, chlorine, or even formaldehyde. These contaminants can then lead to exacerbated allergy symptoms such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sneezing, watery eyes, and other respiratory disorders.

Fortunately for allergy and asthma suffers, allergy furnace filters are a relatively inexpensive way to clean the air, and they have been shown to be over 90% effective at capturing larger particulates from the air such as dust and dander. These high efficiency air filters come in the form of pleated panels that are inserted into the filter opening of a home's furnace or air conditioning unit, and they are perfect for asthma or allergy sufferers, as they do not use harmful ionizers or ozone to remove pollutants. Some allergy furnace filters can be washed or reused, but many models are conveniently disposable, and can be tossed when dirty.

An allergy furnace filter usually consists of a frame and filter media. The frame allows the filter to withstand the pressure created by the heating and air conditioning system. When choosing a high-efficiency allergy furnace filter, look for models that are composed of highly specialized, synthetic filtration media, as these provide a combination of electrostatic and mechanical filtration to ensure sustained performance. The gradient layer of this media has the ability to capture particulates while minimizing airflow resistance, and will not absorb moisture that will lead to the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria and mold.

Also, another factor to consider when choosing an allergy furnace filter is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV rating. This measurement is a rating of a filter's ability to capture larger particles between 0.3 and 10 microns, and can be very helpful in comparing the performance of various furnace filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective a filter is at trapping specific types of particles.

Lastly, another added benefit of using an allergy furnace filter is ease in maintenance. Installation is usually quite simple, as no tools are required. To install an allergy furnace filter, follow these simple steps:

1. Remove any plastic or paper wrap from the filter, and do not cut, crimp, bend, damage, or remove the cardboard frame around the filter media.

2. Remove and dispose of the existing filter in your home furnace or air conditioning system, and keep in mind that the used filter can contain particulates that, with improper handling, can be re-introduced into the air. Immediately place the soiled filter in a plastic garbage bag, tie the top, and dispose of it properly.

3. Insert the allergy furnace filter in the filter opening of your home furnace.

Be aware that while allergy furnace filters are very effective at trapping harmful particulates, they are best used in combination with an air purifier as part of an all-out campaign to reduce airborne allergens.

Jeanie Wong is a marketing writer with extensive knowledge of air purification systems.