How Your Furnace Can Trigger Your Allergies
Have you ever felt when you run your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a worse reputation, fall allergies are still very typical and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to colder temperatures affecting our immune systems and from starting up our equipment. This might leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Knoxville, or even lead to them?
While furnaces can’t create allergies, they sometimes make them worse. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other allergens can build up in heating ducts. When the winter temps hit and we turn our furnaces on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the vents and travel through our homes. Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from aggravating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies
- Get a New HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can complete to alleviate your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are superior when trapping the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you in better health.
- Clean Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants harbor in your HVAC filters, but in your air ducts as well. An air duct cleaning may help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you request an air duct cleaning, our experts survey and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Adequate HVAC maintenance and regular checkups are another excellent way to both strengthen your home’s air quality and keep your heating running as efficiently as possible. Before turning your heating on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC mechanic run through a maintenance examination to ensure your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in great shape.
Allergies and continual illness can be annoying, and it can be difficult to discover what’s causing or worsening them. Here are some additional FAQs, including answers and tips that might 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, leading you to breathing them in more often than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems may make your allergies more severe, that is only if you ignore suitable maintenance of your furnace. Other than the things we listed above, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your residence 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 added cleaning ideas include:
- Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust before vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains regularly, as they are a common collector of allergens.
- Remember to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on your home’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also contribute to more severe allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels balanced and your indoor air quality much healthier.
What is the Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Generally, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your household struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, including dust, pollen and dirt. These filters have a MERV rating of 17-21, depending on the type. This rating reveals how successfully a filter can remove pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s helpful to touch base with R & M Climate Control Service Experts to make sure your heating and cooling system can work correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dirty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Old filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to circulate. The same goes for dusty ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related problems, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s smart to replace your HVAC filter every 30-60 days, but here are some signs you might need to sooner:
- It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your house.
- You discover more dust in your residence.
- Heating and cooling expenses are increasing with no apparent reason.
- Your allergies are popping up more often.
- The metal is sitting 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, in spite of frequent cleaning.
Signs your air ducts could use cleaning include:
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