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Can Air Filters Help People With Respiratory Issues?

The primary purpose of an air filter is to keep people safe from any air pollutants that can harm them. It is mainly used to protect the respiratory system from unwanted damaging particles, such as dust or mold. The second essential purpose of the air filter is to keep the HVAC functioning properly.

Air filters are in every AC and HVAC system where the air comes in and goes out. The filters can also be customizable to fit different systems. For example, sizes for Honeywell air filters can be customizable since there are so many types of HVAC systems. The same goes for every brand because each has specific dimensions, so filters must be carefully chosen.

Understanding Air Filters

Air filters are important for your health because they protect you from various pollutants. It is not rare for chemicals to get inside the HVAC system. It can be a freon leak or pesticide used on the plants outside. Generally, if you want the best filter to help your respiratory system, you have to go for MERV 13 or higher.

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values, which is the filter’s ability to protect against particles, objects, and odors. The higher the MERV, the higher the protection for the HVAC system and your health.

It is important to know the difference between MERV ratings and what they can protect us from.

Dust and Pollen

Protection against dust and pollen is crucial, especially if people have allergies or respiratory sickness. Dust and pollen can cause sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. In some cases, it can get worse if you have another illness, leading to labored breathing and red and itchy eyes.

Dust can also irritate the nose and throat and make people sneeze. It is vital to have proper filters for protection. Pollen can be so damaging that even cars have pollen filters. Pollen filters should be installed where there is an airflow system.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that can live in almost every environment, and the HVAC system is no exception. They are not harmful to us, but what they leave behind can damage our respiratory system.

They can create allergies and nasal congestion and even make asthma worse. Pollen filters are also effective against dust mites and should be considered when installing an HVAC system.


Filters are a must against mold, especially for people with respiratory issues. Mold can have the same effects as dust and pollen, but it can also create headaches and lead to fatigue, or worse. Depending on the type of mold, it can have more severe effects on the health and respiratory system. MERV 10 air filters are recommended to protect against mold.

Pet Dander

Pet dander is the dead skin left behind by pets, and if owners have at least one pet in their house, it is essential to use air filters. MERV 8 filters will protect against pet dander and won’t let it spread throughout the house. A symptom is shortness of breath, but can also trigger asthma or skin irritations.


Smoke also damages the respiratory system, but a filter can reduce its damage. Smoke contains many chemicals and, in large quantities, can lead to fainting or even death. It is necessary to have strong enough filters to keep smoke away. In smaller volumes, smoke can damage the respiratory system and make breathing difficult.


The best filters can protect against allergens as well. Allergens are not only dangerous to the respiratory system but can have other effects on health too. Allergens are not only spread through the air, insect bites also have them.


Odors do not substantially impact our health as the previously mentioned causes. However, they can cause sneezing and create an unpleasant environment. That’s why when choosing an air filter, it is a good suggestion to buy one which offers protection against odors. There are also filters with fresh scents that will make the house smell good.

Which Air Filters Protects Against What

Depending on the respiratory issue someone has, they can opt for a specific air filter to help them with their symptoms. Below is a list of filters and their level of protection.

MERV 8 Filters

MERV 8 filters are good against dust, pollen, mold, and some bacteria. Type 8 is not the lowest protection, as it starts from 1. However, it is not recommended to have anything lower than 8, especially if the home’s occupants have any health issues. Lower rated filters will not provide good protection against mold and bacteria, for example.

MERV 10 Filters

MERV 10 filters protect against odors and smoke. It is important to upgrade the filters to MERV 10 if people live in an area with factories or other sources of smoke.

MERV 11 Filters

This filter is perfect for owners with pets since they can easily block pet dander. It will allow owners to enjoy time spent with pets without feeling sick or having trouble breathing. The respiratory system will not be affected if a MERV 11 filter is used with pets.

MERV 13 Filters

MERV 13 is one of the strongest filters and will protect the respiratory system from dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, pet dander, smoke, allergens, odor, and smog. This is the safest option a homeowner can go for, and it is recommended for people with asthma. It is also suggested to have this type of filter because it will reduce the chance of illness in the respiratory system.

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