Have you ever caught when you run your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sneezing more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a harsher reputation, fall allergies are still very common and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring because of cooler weather weakening our immune systems and from starting up our heating. This may leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Richmond, or even cause them?
While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they can aggravate them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can collect in heating ducts. When the cooler temperatures arrive and we turn our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ventilation and move throughout our homes. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from worsening 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 tasks you can perform to help your allergies at any time of the year. New filters are better at catching the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Dust Your Air Ducts. Not only do particulates collect in your HVAC filters, but in your air ducts as well. An air duct cleaning might help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, technicians survey and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Proper HVAC maintenance and routine service are another easy way to both boost your residence’s air quality and keep your furnace working as smoothly as possible. Before flipping your heat on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC tech perform a maintenance examination to verify your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in tip-top condition.
Allergies and continual illness can be annoying, and it can be tough to learn what’s causing or worsening them. Here are some common FAQs, complete with answers and tips that could help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are usually told that forced air heating may irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more frequently than if you owned a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems can make your allergies more severe, that is only if you don’t take proper upkeep of your furnace. Other than the tasks we mentioned already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your home often. 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:
- Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust in advance of vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a frequent hiding place of allergens.
- Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture.
- Check your home’s moisture levels. Increased 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 Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?
In general, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your home struggles with 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 illustrates how thoroughly a filter can remove pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow. It’s wise to touch base with Eveready Service Experts to confirm your heating and cooling system can work correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Dirty filters can hold on to particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. This is also applicable for filthy ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can produce sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related problems, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s beneficial to swap out your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some signals you might need to sooner:
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