How Your Furnace Can Worsen Your Allergies

Have you ever noticed when you run your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more frequently? While spring allergies often get a worse reputation, fall allergies are still very common and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to weather weakening our immune systems and from cranking up our heating. This could leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in the U.S., or even trigger them? 

While furnaces can’t create allergies, they can aggravate them. How? During the warmer months, dust, dander and other allergens can build up in heating ducts. When the cooler conditions start and we turn our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now pushed out of the ductwork and travel through our residences. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from worsening your allergies. 

How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies

  1. Change Your HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can perform to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are better at trapping the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you in better health. 
  1. Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants collect in your HVAC filters, but in your ventilation 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, repair techs check and clean components like your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers. 
  1. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Condition. Proper HVAC maintenance and periodic tune-ups are another excellent way to both increase your home’s air quality and keep your heater performing as effectively as possible. In advance of flipping your furnace on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC tech complete a maintenance examination to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in good working order. 

Allergies and frequent illness can be discouraging, and it can be hard to learn what’s leading to or triggering them. Here are some common FAQs, including answers and ideas that could help.  

Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are typically told that forced air heating could affect your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, causing you to breathe them in more frequently than if you had a radiant heating system. While it’s true forced air systems might make your allergies not so good, that is only if you put off suitable care of your system. Other than the tasks we mentioned previously, you can also: 

  • Dust and vacuum your home frequently. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to accumulate in your air ducts, your air system can’t carry them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some additional cleaning tips are: 
  • Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. 
  • Dust prior to vacuuming. 
  • Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a typical hiding place of allergens. 
  • Make sure to clean behind and under furniture. 
  • Keep an Eye on your house’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also contribute to aggravating your allergies. Humidity supports mold growth and dust mites. Installing a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels balanced and your indoor air quality much fresher. 

What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies? 

Typically, HEPA filters are a great fit if you or someone in your household struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 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 brand or filter material. This rating demonstrates how thoroughly a filter can take pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are thick and can reduce airflow. It’s helpful to touch base with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to ensure your heating and cooling system can perform properly with these high efficiency filters. 

Can Dirty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick? 

Clogged filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. This also applies to filthy vents. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity. 

It’s recommended to replace your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some signals you might need to more regularly: 

  • It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your home. 
  • You find more dust in your home. 
  • Heating and cooling expenses are rising with no obvious reason. 
  • Your allergies are popping up more often. 
  • Clues your air ducts require cleaning include: 
  • The metal is coated in dust. 
  • Filthy supply and return vents. 
  • Mold in your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or air handler. 
  • Dust emitting from your vents when your HVAC system is working. 
  • Your house is always dusty, regardless of continuous cleaning. 

Your health and comfort are our first priority at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. Whether it’s furnace repair now. 

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