Have you ever caught when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more often? While spring allergies often get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very common and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring because of brisk temperatures weakening our immune systems and from starting up our equipment. This could leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Edmonton, or even trigger them?
While furnaces can’t create allergies, they sometimes aggravate them. How? During the warmer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can build up in heating ducts. When the winter conditions start and we flip our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now distributed through the ductwork and travel through our homes. Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from irritating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies
- Change Your HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can perform to help 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 healthier.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do particulates harbor in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning may help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you request an air duct cleaning, repair techs survey and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Proper HVAC maintenance and routine checkups are another great way to both improve your house’s air quality and keep your system performing as smoothly as possible. Before turning your heating on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC tech complete a maintenance checkup to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in working working order.
Allergies and continuous illness can be discouraging, and it can be difficult to figure out what’s creating or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, along with answers and ideas that might help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are often told that forced air heating could aggravate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more frequently than if you had a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems may make your allergies more severe, that is only if you put off appropriate maintenance of your furnace. Other than the things we mentioned already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your home regularly. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to clog your air ducts, your air system can’t transport them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some additional cleaning tips include:
- Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust ahead of vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains regularly, as they are a typical hiding place of allergens.
- Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture.
- Check your home’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also contribute to worsening of allergies. Humidity causes mold growth and dust mites. Installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels under control and your indoor air quality much better.
What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Generally, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your household struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to take out 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 kind. This rating reveals how thoroughly a filter can remove pollutants from the air. Due to their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s helpful to contact McKinley Heating Service Experts to confirm your heating and cooling system can run correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Dirty filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This is also applicable for filthy vents. If you inhale these particles it can produce sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related problems, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to switch out your HVAC filter every 30-60 days, but here are some indications you may need to more regularly:
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