Have you ever noticed when you start your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more frequently? 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 thanks to colder weather affecting our immune systems and from starting up our furnaces. This might leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in Indianapolis, or even lead to them?
While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they sometimes aggravate them. How? During the hotter months, dust, dander and other allergens can accumulate in heating ducts. When the cooler temperatures begin and we turn our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now pushed out of the vents and move throughout our homes. Luckily, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from worsening your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies
- Get a New HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best things you can perform to help your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are better at trapping the allergens in your house’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants harbor in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning can 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 in Good Working Condition. Proper HVAC maintenance and scheduled tune-ups are another good way to both enhance your house’s air quality and keep your furnace performing as effectively as possible. In advance of turning your heat on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC tech run through a maintenance inspection to verify your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in tip-top working order.
Allergies and frequent illness can be irritating, and it can be difficult to discover what’s causing or worsening them. Here are some additional FAQs, including answers and ideas that can help.
Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are usually told that forced air heating might irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, resulting in you breathing them in more often than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems can make your allergies worse, that is only if you avoid appropriate care of your heating equipment. Other than the tasks we listed already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your house frequently. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to collect in your air ducts, your air system can’t transport them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some added cleaning tips are:
- Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust before vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a frequent harbor of allergens.
- Make sure to clean behind and under furniture.
- Check your residence’s moisture levels. Increased humidity levels can also result in aggravating your allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels under control and your indoor air quality much healthier.
What is the Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Most often, HEPA filters are a great fit if you or someone in your home suffers from allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, like dust, pollen and dirt. These filters have a MERV rating of 17-21, depending on the brand or filter material. This rating demonstrates how thoroughly a filter can clean pollutants from the air. Due to their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow. It’s smart to contact Broad Ripple Service Experts to make sure your heating and cooling system can run correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dirty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Worn filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to circulate. The same goes for dirty ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can produce sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to switch out your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some signals you may need to more frequently:
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