How Your Furnace Can Worsen Your Allergies

Have you ever caught when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very prominent and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring because of brisk temperatures affecting our immune systems and from cranking up our heating. This can leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Raleigh, or even cause them?

While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they can intensify them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other allergens can collect in heating ducts. When the winter conditions start and we turn our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now pushed out of the ductwork and travel throughout our houses. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from irritating your allergies.

How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies

  1. Replace Your HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best things you can do to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are ideal for trapping the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you in better health.
  2. Clean Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants collect in your HVAC filters, but in your air ducts as well. An air duct cleaning may help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, repair techs survey and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
  3. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Adequate HVAC maintenance and regular checkups are another easy way to both increase your house’s air quality and keep your heater running as efficiently as possible. Before switching your heating on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC technician run through a maintenance inspection 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 creating or triggering them. Here are some common FAQs, along with answers and tips that can help.

Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are frequently told that forced air heating could irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, causing you to breathe them in more regularly than if you owned a radiant heating system. While it’s true forced air systems might make your allergies worse, that is only if you don’t take suitable maintenance of your heating equipment. Other than the practices we listed previously, you can also:

  • Dust and vacuum your house regularly. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to collect in your air ducts, your air system can’t carry them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some extra cleaning suggestions include:
    • Confirm your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
    • Dust in advance of vacuuming.
    • Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a common collector of allergens.
    • Make sure to clean behind and under furniture.
  • Watch your house’s moisture levels. High humidity levels can also lead to 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 healthier.

What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?

Most often, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your home suffers from 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 type. This rating demonstrates how well a filter can remove pollutants from the air. Because of their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are deep and can reduce airflow. It’s wise to talk to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning to confirm your heating and cooling system can operate properly with these high efficiency filters.

Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?

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

It’s recommended to replace your HVAC filter after 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 home.
  • You discover more dust in your residence.
  • Energy expenses are increasing with no clear reason.
  • Your allergies are getting worse.
  • Clues your air ducts need cleaning include:

  • The metal is covered in dust.
  • Dusty supply and return vents.
  • Mold in your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or air handler.
  • Dust flowing from your vents when your HVAC system is starting.
  • Your residence is often dusty, regardless of frequent cleaning.

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

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