Have you ever felt when you turn on your heat for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a harsher reputation, fall allergies are still very prominent and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring because of colder weather weakening our immune systems and from starting up our equipment. This might leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in West Chester, or even cause them?
While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they sometimes aggravate them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can collect in heating ducts. When the cooler conditions start and we flip our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ductwork and travel through our residences. Fortunately, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from irritating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies
- Change Your HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best tasks you can perform to alleviate your allergies at any time of the year. New filters are ideal for snagging the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you in better health.
- Clean Your Air Ducts. Not only do particulates gather in your HVAC filters, but in your ductwork as well. An air duct cleaning may help minimize allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, our experts check and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Quality HVAC maintenance and regular checkups are another great way to both enhance your home’s air quality and keep your heating working as effectively as possible. Before switching your heat on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC technician run through a maintenance inspection to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in good working order.
Allergies and recurring illness can be frustrating, and it can be tough to figure out what’s leading to or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, complete with answers and suggestions that can help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are frequently told that forced air heating may aggravate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, resulting in you breathing them in more frequently than if you had a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems may make your allergies worse, that is only if you avoid suitable maintenance of your system. Other than the practices we mentioned 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 circulate them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some additional cleaning suggestions include:
- Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust prior to vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a typical collector of allergens.
- Make sure to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on your house’s moisture levels. Increased humidity levels can also contribute to worsening of allergies. Humidity supports mold growth and dust mites. Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system keeps moisture levels in check and your indoor air quality much better.
What is the Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Most often, HEPA filters are the best if you or someone in your home 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 type. This rating illustrates how well a filter can clean pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration performance, HEPA filters are deep and can reduce airflow. It’s helpful to contact Wesley Wood 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 move throughout your home. The same goes for dusty ductwork. 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 every 30-60 days, but here are some signals you could need to more frequently:
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