Have you ever felt when you start your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sneezing more frequently? While spring allergies seem to get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very prominent and many people struggle with them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring due to cooler weather impairing our immune systems and from cranking up our furnaces. This could leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in Austin, or even trigger them?
While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they sometimes aggravate them. How? During the warmer months, dust, dander and other debris can build up in heating ducts. When the cooler temps hit and we switch our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the vents and circulate within our homes. Thankfully, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from irritating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies
- Replace Your HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best things you can do to help your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are superior when snagging the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles collect in your HVAC filters, but in your ductwork as well. An air duct cleaning may help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, technicians survey and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Proper HVAC maintenance and routine service are another good way to both boost your home’s air quality and keep your heating working as efficiently as possible. Prior to flipping your heating on for the first time, it can help to have an HVAC mechanic perform a maintenance inspection to verify your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in tip-top condition.
Allergies and frequent illness can be frustrating, and it can be difficult to pinpoint what’s causing or aggravating them. Here are some extra FAQs, along with answers and suggestions that might help.
Is Forced Air Harmful for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are typically told that forced air heating can 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 appropriate care of your heating equipment. Other than the tasks we mentioned already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your residence regularly. 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:
- Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust prior to vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a typical harbor of allergens.
- Remember to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on your residence’s moisture levels. High humidity levels can also contribute to more severe allergies. Humidity supports 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 Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Most often, HEPA filters are a great fit if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 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 successfully a filter can clean pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s smart to talk to Strand Brothers Service Experts 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?
Clogged filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to circulate. This is also applicable for dirty vents. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to swap out your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some indications you could need to more regularly:
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