How Your Furnace Can Spark Your Allergies

Have you ever noticed when you start your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more than usual? While spring allergies seem to get a more severe reputation, fall allergies are still very common and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to temperatures weakening our immune systems and from cranking up our furnaces. This might leave you considering, can furnaces make allergies worse in the U.S., or even trigger them? 

While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they sometimes aggravate them. How? During the hotter months, dust, dander and other allergens can build up in heating ducts. When the winter temps hit and we flip our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now distributed through the ductwork and move through our houses. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from irritating 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 complete to help your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are superior when trapping the allergens in your house’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy. 
  1. Dust Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles gather in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning may help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you request an air duct cleaning, our experts review and clean components like your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers. 
  1. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Proper HVAC maintenance and regular service are another good way to both increase your house’s air quality and keep your system working as effectively as possible. Prior to flipping your furnace on for the first time, it can help to have an HVAC technician perform a maintenance checkup to verify your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in good shape. 

Allergies and recurring illness can be frustrating, and it can be tough to discover what’s causing or triggering them. Here are some additional FAQs, complete with answers and suggestions that can help.  

Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are typically told that forced air heating can affect your allergies even more. Forced air systems can carry allergens through the air, causing you to breathe them in more frequently than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems might make your allergies more severe, that is only if you ignore suitable care of your heating equipment. Other than the practices we included already, you can also: 

  • Dust and vacuum your house often. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to clog your air ducts, your air system can’t circulate them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some extra cleaning suggestions are: 
  • Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. 
  • Dust in advance of vacuuming. 
  • Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a typical collecto of allergens. 
  • Remember to clean behind and under furniture. 
  • Keep an Eye on your home’s moisture levels. Increased humidity levels can also lead to more severe allergies. Humidity causes 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 Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies? 

Generally, HEPA filters are the best 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 brand or filter material. This rating reveals how successfully a filter can clean pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are dense and can restrict airflow. It’s smart to talk to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to confirm your heating and cooling system can work right with these high efficiency filters. 

Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick? 

Old filters can harbor particles and allow poor quality air to circulate. This also applies to filthy ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related issues, depending on your sensitivity. 

It’s smart to replace your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some signals you may need to sooner: 

  • It’s taking a longer amount of time for your system to cool or heat your home. 
  • You discover more dust in your house. 
  • Utility expenses are increasing with no apparent reason. 
  • Your allergies are popping up more often. 
  • Symptoms your air ducts could use 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 running. 
  • Your home is always dusty, in spite of constant cleaning. 

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

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