Can the Right Air Filter Help Me Get Over Pet Allergies?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 3 out of 10 Americans have pet allergies. But that doesn’t always mean they give up their four-legged, furry companions.

Which is why homeowners often ask us, “Can the right air filter can help me get over pet allergies?”

The unfortunate answer is: No. There is no air filter that can “get rid of” your pet allergies.

BUT there are filters that are more effective than others at trapping the pet dander that you’re allergic to. In other words, the higher the MERV rating of your air filter, the better they can trap pet dander and decrease your annoying allergy symptoms.

Not sure what a filter’s MERV rating is or how it affects your pet allergies?

We’ll explain all that below.

It all depends on your filter’s “MERV” rating…

According to the ASHRAE, air filters with a MERV rating of 10 and higher are best at removing smaller airborne allergens like pet dander.

So, what exactly is “MERV”?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is basically a measurement of how well your air filter captures certain contaminants. 

Every air filter receives a MERV rating anywhere from 1 to 20. Basically, the higher the MERV rating, the smaller airborne contaminants the filter can catch.

For example, standard fiberglass filters typically have MERV ratings of 1 to 4. That means they are only effective at catching larger air particles that are 10 microns in size, like large dust particulates and fibers. 

But fiberglass filters won’t be effective at catching smaller particles, like pet dander.

Most homeowners use standard, fiberglass air filters with a MERV rating of 1 to 4.


So, if you want a filter that CAN remove pet dander from their air inside your home, upgrade to a filter with a MERV rating of at least 10.

But before you go out and grab any MERV 10 filter, let’s look at why not all high MERV filters are equal…

Our suggestion: A filter that’s at least MERV 10...the thicker, the better!

Another important feature you should pay attention to: the thickness of the filter. 

For high MERV filters, always go with a thicker option (4-5 inches thick).


A thinner, high MERV filter (let’s say 1 inch thick) catches a wide range of small and large particles. But because it’s relatively thin, there’s less surface area to catch particles, which means it gets clogged much faster than thicker MERV filters, which have larger surface areas.

And a clogged filter restricts airflow, essentially “suffocating” and damaging your HVAC system.

Basically, a thicker high MERV filter catches more air particles and they’ll get clogged less often than thinner filters.

Now, if you’re really serious about clean air, you can go a step further and install a whole-home air cleaner. Whole home air cleaners/purifiers can trap up to 99.98% of airborne allergens.

They’re installed inside your ductwork and use high MERV filters that easily trap pet dander and are also effective against human influenza, the common cold and Streptococcus Aureus. 


Have filter questions? Chat with an Atlanta HVAC expert

If you still have questions about the type of filter that can decrease pet allergy symptoms, contact us today.

Our professional techs can help you determine the right MERV rating or whole-home air purifying system that works for you.

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