Have you ever caught when you start your heat for the first time in the fall, you’re sneezing more often? While spring allergies often get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very typical and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring due to brisk temps affecting our immune systems and from cranking up our furnaces. This can leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in the Wasatch Front region, or even lead to them?
While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they could intensify them. How? During the warmer months, dust, dander and other debris can collect in heating ducts. When the cooler conditions start and we turn our heat on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ductwork and circulate through our houses. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from worsening your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies
- Get a New HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best tasks you can do to help your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are superior when trapping the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you in better health.
- Clean Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles gather in your HVAC filters, but in your ductwork as well. An air duct cleaning may help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, repair techs review and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Quality HVAC maintenance and scheduled service are another good way to both strengthen your house’s air quality and keep your system performing as efficiently as possible. Prior to switching your heating on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC technician perform a maintenance examination to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in good condition.
Allergies and continuous illness can be frustrating, and it can be hard to discover what’s leading to or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, complete with answers and ideas that can help.
Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are typically told that forced air heating could irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more regularly than if you had a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems might make your allergies more severe, that is only if you don’t take suitable maintenance of your system. Other than the practices we listed already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your house frequently. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to collect in your air ducts, your air system can’t circulate them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some additional cleaning suggestions involve:
- Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust in advance of vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a common collector of allergens.
- Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on 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 under control and your indoor air quality much fresher.
What is the Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Typically, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your family suffers from allergies. HEPA filters are rated to take out 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, like dust, pollen and dirt. These filters have a MERV rating of 17-21, depending on the kind. This rating reveals how well a filter can clean pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are deep and can reduce airflow. It’s helpful to talk to Barlow Service Experts to make sure your heating and cooling system can work correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Clogged filters can hold on to particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. The same goes for dusty ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related problems, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s smart to replace your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some signals you could need to sooner:
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