Have you ever noticed when you start your heat for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more often? While spring allergies usually get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very common and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring because of cooler temperatures weakening our immune systems and from cranking up our furnaces. This can leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Houston, or even cause them?
While furnaces can’t create allergies, they can make them worse. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can build up in heating ducts. When the colder conditions hit and we turn our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the vents and travel within our houses. Luckily, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from irritating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies
- Change Your HVAC Filter. Regularly replacing your filters is one of the best things you can perform to help your allergies at any time of the year. New filters are ideal for snagging the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Clean Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles collect in your HVAC filters, but in your air ducts as well. An air duct cleaning could help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, repair techs check and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Adequate HVAC maintenance and periodic tune-ups are another good way to both boost your home’s air quality and keep your system running as smoothly as possible. Before turning your heating on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC tech perform a maintenance examination to ensure your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in great shape.
Allergies and frequent illness can be discouraging, and it can be tough to pinpoint what’s causing or triggering them. Here are some additional FAQs, including answers and suggestions that might help.
Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are usually told that forced air heating can affect your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, resulting in you breathing them in more often than if you had a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems might make your allergies not so good, that is only if you avoid appropriate maintenance of your system. Other than the tasks we listed above, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your house frequently. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to clog your air ducts, your air system can’t transport them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some extra cleaning suggestions involve:
- Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust before vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a typical collector of allergens.
- Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on your house’s moisture levels. High humidity levels can also result in more severe allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels in check and your indoor air quality much fresher.
What is the Top Furnace Filter for Allergies?
In general, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your household suffers from allergies. HEPA filters are rated to filter 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 successfully a filter can take pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s beneficial to touch base with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to ensure your heating and cooling system can work correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Clogged Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Dirty filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. The same goes for filthy air ducts. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to swap out your HVAC filter every 30-60 days, but here are some signals you might need to sooner:
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