How Your Furnace Can Spark Your Allergies

Have you ever noticed when you start your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more frequently? While spring allergies often get a harsher reputation, fall allergies are still very typical and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to temperatures affecting our immune systems and from winding up our equipment. This can leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in the U.S., or even lead to them? 

While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they sometimes make them worse. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other debris can build up in heating ducts. When the winter temps start and we turn our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ductwork and circulate throughout our residences. Luckily, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from irritating your allergies. 

How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies

  1. 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. Clean filters are ideal for trapping the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy. 
  1. Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do particulates harbor in your HVAC filters, but in your air ducts as well. An air duct cleaning can help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, our experts survey and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers. 
  1. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Condition. Quality HVAC maintenance and regular service are another easy way to both improve your home’s air quality and keep your furnace performing as efficiently as possible. Before flipping your heat on for the first time, it can help to have an HVAC technician complete a maintenance examination to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in great shape. 

Allergies and recurring illness can be discouraging, and it can be difficult to discover what’s creating or worsening them. Here are some common FAQs, including answers and tips that can help.  

Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are often told that forced air heating might affect your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more frequently than if you owned a radiant heating system. While it’s true forced air systems can make your allergies not so good, that is only if you put off suitable maintenance of your heating equipment. Other than the practices we listed above, you can also: 

  • Dust and vacuum your residence often. 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 suggestions include: 
  • Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter. 
  • Dust in advance of vacuuming. 
  • Clean your curtains regularly, as they are a frequent harbor 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 causes mold growth and dust mites. Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system keeps moisture levels balanced and your indoor air quality much fresher. 

What is the Top Furnace Filter for Allergies? 

Usually, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your home deals 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 reveals how thoroughly a filter can take pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration performance, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s beneficial to contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to make sure your heating and cooling system can run right 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 dusty vents. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related issues, depending on your sensitivity. 

It’s recommended to swap out your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some signs you may need to more frequently: 

  • It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your residence. 
  • You come across more dust in your residence. 
  • Utility bills are increasing with no obvious reason. 
  • Your allergies are popping up more often. 
  • Symptoms your air ducts could use cleaning include: 
  • The metal is covered 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 frequently 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 right away. 

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