How Your Furnace Can Trigger Your Allergies

Have you ever noticed when you start your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re sneezing more than usual? While spring allergies often get a worse reputation, fall allergies are still very common and many people struggle with them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to temps impairing our immune systems and from starting up our equipment. This could leave you thinking, can furnaces make allergies worse in the U.S., or even cause them? 

While furnaces can’t create allergies, they could aggravate them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can build up in heating ducts. When the cold temps arrive and we switch our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now distributed through the ductwork and move through our houses. Luckily, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from worsening your allergies. 

How to Keep Your Furnace from Triggering Your Allergies

  1. Change Your HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best tasks you can perform to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are ideal for trapping the allergens in your house’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy. 
  1. Dust Your Air Ducts. Not only do particulates collect in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning may help ease allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. When you request an air duct cleaning, repair techs review and clean components like your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers. 
  1. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Adequate HVAC maintenance and routine service are another excellent way to both boost your house’s air quality and keep your furnace working as smoothly as possible. Before switching your heat on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC tech complete a maintenance inspection to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in excellent condition. 

Allergies and recurring illness can be annoying, and it can be tough to learn what’s creating or worsening them. Here are some extra FAQs, including answers and suggestions that can help.  

Is Forced Air Harmful for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are usually told that forced air heating might irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more frequently than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems might make your allergies more severe, that is only if you ignore appropriate maintenance of your furnace. Other than the things we listed previously, you can also: 

  • Dust and vacuum your house frequently. If there aren’t dust, dander or mold spore particles to clog your air ducts, your air system can’t carry them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some extra cleaning ideas are: 
  • Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. 
  • Dust before vacuuming. 
  • Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a typical hiding place of allergens. 
  • Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture. 
  • Check your house’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 under control and your indoor air quality much fresher. 

What is the Top Furnace Filter for Allergies? 

In general, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your family struggles 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 illustrates how thoroughly a filter can take pollutants from the air. Due to their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are thick and can reduce airflow. It’s helpful to contact Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to ensure your heating and cooling system can run correctly with these high efficiency filters. 

Can Clogged Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick? 

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

It’s beneficial to swap out your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some indications you might need to more frequently: 

  • It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your house. 
  • You find more dust in your house. 
  • Heating and cooling bills are increasing with no obvious reason. 
  • Your allergies are getting worse. 
  • Symptoms your air ducts require 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 coming from your vents when your HVAC system is working. 
  • Your house is often dusty, regardless of frequent cleaning. 

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

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