Have you ever caught when you start your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more frequently? While spring allergies often get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very common and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to colder weather weakening our immune systems and from winding up our furnaces. This could leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Hillsborough, 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 debris can accumulate in heating ducts. When the cold conditions begin and we turn our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now distributed through the vents and move through our houses. Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from aggravating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies
- Replace Your HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best tasks you can perform to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are better at catching the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles gather in your HVAC filters, but in your ductwork as well. An air duct cleaning might help minimize allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, repair techs check and clean components like your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Proper HVAC maintenance and periodic tune-ups are another great way to both increase your house’s air quality and keep your heater performing as efficiently as possible. In advance of turning your heating on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC tech complete a maintenance examination to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in excellent working order.
Allergies and continual illness can be irritating, and it can be hard to figure out what’s causing or aggravating them. Here are some extra FAQs, including answers and ideas that can help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are usually told that forced air heating could aggravate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, resulting in you breathing them in more often than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems may make your allergies not so good, that is only if you avoid suitable care of your heating equipment. Other than the things we included already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your house regularly. 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 tips involve:
- Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust prior to vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a frequent 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 aggravating your allergies. Humidity causes mold growth and dust mites. Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system keeps moisture levels under control and your indoor air quality much healthier.
What is the Top Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Generally, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your household struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to take out 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 demonstrates how successfully a filter can clean pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s beneficial to talk to Fras-Air/General Service Experts to make sure your heating and cooling system can perform properly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dirty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Worn filters can harbor particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This also applies to dirty air ducts. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s beneficial to replace your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some indications you may need to more frequently:
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