Have you ever noticed when you turn on your heat for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more frequently? While spring allergies often get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very common and many people struggle with them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to cooler temps affecting our immune systems and from winding up our furnaces. This may leave you considering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Mobile, or even trigger them?
While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they can make them worse. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other allergens can build up in heating ducts. When the cooler temps hit and we switch our furnaces on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ductwork and travel through our residences. Luckily, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from irritating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies
- Get a New HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can perform to alleviate your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are ideal for snagging the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy.
- Clean Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants collect in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning might help minimize allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, repair techs inspect and clean components like your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Condition. Proper HVAC maintenance and scheduled tune-ups are another great way to both improve your house’s air quality and keep your heating running as effectively as possible. Before switching your heating on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC technician perform a maintenance checkup to verify your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in excellent working order.
Allergies and frequent illness can be frustrating, and it can be hard to discover what’s leading to or triggering them. Here are some additional FAQs, complete with answers and tips that could help.
Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are often told that forced air heating might affect your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more frequently than if you had a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems might make your allergies more severe, that is only if you ignore proper care of your system. Other than the tasks we listed above, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your residence often. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to collect in your air ducts, your air system can’t transport them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some added cleaning suggestions are:
- Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust ahead of vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a common hiding place of allergens.
- Make sure to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on your house’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also contribute to worsening of allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels balanced and your indoor air quality much better.
What is the Top Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Generally, HEPA filters are a great fit if you or someone in your family struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to take out 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, including dust, pollen and dirt. These filters have a MERV rating of 17-21, depending on the brand or filter material. This rating demonstrates how thoroughly a filter can remove pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and can restrict airflow. It’s smart to talk to Climate Control Service Experts to ensure your heating and cooling system can work right with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Worn filters can harbor particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. The same goes for dirty vents. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related issues, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s beneficial to switch out your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some indications you may need to more regularly:
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