How Your Furnace Can Trigger Your Allergies

Have you ever felt when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sneezing more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very prominent 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 equipment. This can leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in the U.S., or even trigger them? 

While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they can aggravate them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other allergens can collect in heating ducts. When the cold conditions arrive and we turn our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now distributed through the vents and move throughout our residences. Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from irritating your allergies. 

How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies

  1. Get a New HVAC Filter. Regularly replacing your filters is one of the best things you can do to help your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are better at trapping the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy. 
  1. Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles collect in your HVAC filters, but in your ductwork as well. An air duct cleaning can help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, repair techs check and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers. 
  1. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Condition. Adequate HVAC maintenance and scheduled checkups are another easy way to both enhance your home’s air quality and keep your system running as smoothly as possible. Prior to turning your heating on for the first time, it can help to have an HVAC mechanic complete a maintenance checkup to ensure 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 discover what’s creating or worsening them. Here are some common FAQs, complete with answers and suggestions that can help.  

Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are often told that forced air heating can aggravate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can push allergens through the air, resulting in you breathing them in more often than if you owned a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems may make your allergies more severe, that is only if you put off proper maintenance of your system. Other than the practices we mentioned previously, you can also: 

  • Dust and vacuum your residence 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 extra cleaning ideas are: 
  • Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. 
  • Dust prior to vacuuming. 
  • Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a common hiding place of allergens. 
  • Remember to clean behind and under furniture. 
  • Check your house’s moisture levels. High 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 in check and your indoor air quality much better. 

What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies? 

Generally, HEPA filters are the best 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 kind. This rating illustrates how well a filter can take pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s beneficial to touch base with Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to confirm your heating and cooling system can work correctly with these high efficiency filters. 

Can Dirty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick? 

Dirty filters can hold on to particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This is also applicable for dirty ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can produce sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity. 

It’s smart to replace your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some indications you might need to sooner: 

  • It’s taking longer for your system to cool or heat your house. 
  • You find more dust in your home. 
  • Heating and cooling expenses are rising with no obvious reason. 
  • Your allergies are acting up. 
  • Signs your air ducts require cleaning include: 
  • The metal is sitting in dust. 
  • Filthy supply and return vents. 
  • Mold in your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or air handler. 
  • Dust coming from your vents when your HVAC system is starting. 
  • Your house is often dusty, in spite of frequent 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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