Can Your Furnace Trigger Fall Allergies?
Have you ever caught when you turn on your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very common and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring due to cooler temps affecting our immune systems and from cranking up our heating. This can leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in Clearwater, or even trigger them?
While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they can make them worse. How? During the hotter months, dust, dander and other debris can collect in heating ducts. When the cooler conditions arrive and we flip our furnaces on for the first time, all those allergens are now distributed through the ventilation and circulate through our residences. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from aggravating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies
- Replace Your HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best things you can complete to alleviate your allergies at any time of the year. New filters are better at catching the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you in better health.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants gather in your HVAC filters, but in your ventilation as well. An air duct cleaning may help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, technicians check and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Condition. Quality HVAC maintenance and routine tune-ups are another great way to both improve your home’s air quality and keep your heater performing as efficiently as possible. Before flipping your heating on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC technician perform a maintenance examination to verify your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in great shape.
Allergies and continuous illness can be frustrating, and it can be difficult to figure out what’s creating or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, complete with answers and ideas that might help.
Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are typically told that forced air heating may aggravate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push 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 may make your allergies not so good, that is only if you avoid proper maintenance of your heating equipment. Other than the tasks we mentioned already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your home frequently. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to clog your air ducts, your air system can’t carry them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some added cleaning tips include:
- Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust ahead of vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a typical collector of allergens.
- Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture.
- Watch your residence’s moisture levels. High humidity levels can also contribute to worsening of allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system keeps moisture levels balanced and your indoor air quality much healthier.
What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Usually, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your family struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, like dust, pollen and dirt. These filters have a MERV rating of 17-21, depending on the brand or filter material. This rating demonstrates how successfully a filter can take pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are deep and can reduce airflow. It’s smart to talk to Midway Services to make sure your heating and cooling system can operate properly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Worn filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. The same goes for filthy vents. If you inhale these particles it can produce sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s smart to switch out your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some signs you could need to sooner:
- It’s taking a longer amount of time for your system to cool or heat your house.
- You notice more dust in your home.
- Heating and cooling expenses are increasing with no obvious reason.
- Your allergies are getting worse.
- The metal is sitting in dust.
- Dusty supply and return vents.
- Mold in your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or air handler.
- Dust emitting from your vents when your HVAC system is starting.
- Your house is often dusty, despite constant cleaning.
Symptoms your air ducts require cleaning include:
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