How Your Furnace Can Spark Your Allergies
Have you ever felt when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more often? While spring allergies seem to get a harsher reputation, fall allergies are still very prominent and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to cooler temperatures impairing our immune systems and from winding up our equipment. This can leave you considering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Cleveland, or even cause them?
While furnaces can’t create allergies, they could intensify them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can accumulate in heating ducts. When the winter conditions hit and we switch our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ductwork and circulate through our homes. Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from aggravating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies
- Change Your HVAC Filter. Regularly replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can do to help your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are better at snagging the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy.
- Dust Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants collect in your HVAC filters, but in your ventilation as well. An air duct cleaning could help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, repair techs check and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Quality HVAC maintenance and scheduled tune-ups are another excellent way to both improve your home’s air quality and keep your furnace running as efficiently as possible. Before flipping your heating on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC tech run through a maintenance inspection to ensure your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in working condition.
Allergies and recurring illness can be discouraging, and it can be tough to discover what’s creating or triggering them. Here are some extra FAQs, complete with answers and tips that can help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are often told that forced air heating may aggravate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can carry allergens through the air, causing you to breathe them in more frequently than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems might make your allergies worse, that is only if you put off proper maintenance of your furnace. Other than the tasks we included previously, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your house often. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to accumulate in your air ducts, your air system can’t transport them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some additional cleaning ideas are:
- Confirm your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust prior to vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a common harbor of allergens.
- Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture.
- Watch your house’s moisture levels. Increased humidity levels can also result in worsening of allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Getting a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels in check and your indoor air quality much healthier.
What is the Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Typically, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your household struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to filter 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, such as dust, pollen and dirt. These filters have a MERV rating of 17-21, depending on the brand or filter material. This rating reveals how thoroughly a filter can take pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow. It’s wise to talk to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to confirm your heating and cooling system can operate right with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Old filters can hold on to particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This is also applicable for dusty vents. If you inhale these particles it can produce sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to replace your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some signals you might need to more frequently:
- It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your house.
- You notice more dust in your residence.
- Heating and cooling expenses are rising with no apparent reason.
- Your allergies are getting worse.
- The metal is covered in dust.
- Dusty supply and return vents.
- Mold in your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or air handler.
- Dust coming from your vents when your HVAC system is running.
- Your house is always dusty, regardless of continuous cleaning.
Signs your air ducts require cleaning include:
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