Have you ever noticed when you turn on your heat for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more often? While spring allergies usually get a worse reputation, fall allergies are still very common and many people are affected by them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring because of cooler temps affecting our immune systems and from winding up our equipment. This could leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Oklahoma City, or even lead to them?
While furnaces can’t create allergies, they could aggravate them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other allergens can accumulate in heating ducts. When the winter conditions begin and we switch our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now pushed out of the ventilation and move through our homes. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from aggravating your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies
- Get a New HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can complete to help your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are better at catching the allergens in your house’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles collect in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning could help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, repair techs review and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Adequate HVAC maintenance and periodic checkups are another easy way to both boost your house’s air quality and keep your heating performing as efficiently as possible. In advance of flipping your furnace on for the first time, it can help to have an HVAC technician complete a maintenance inspection to ensure your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in working condition.
Allergies and continual illness can be discouraging, and it can be difficult to pinpoint what’s creating or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, including answers and ideas that might help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are frequently told that forced air heating can affect your allergies even more. Forced air systems can circulate allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more often than if you used a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems may make your allergies not so good, that is only if you ignore appropriate upkeep of your system. Other than the tasks we included 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 transport them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some added cleaning ideas include:
- Confirm your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust prior to vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains periodically, as they are a frequent harbor of allergens.
- Remember to clean behind and under furniture.
- Keep an Eye on your home’s moisture levels. High humidity levels can also contribute to worsening of allergies. Humidity causes mold growth and dust mites. Getting a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels under control and your indoor air quality much better.
What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?
In general, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your household suffers from allergies. HEPA filters are rated to take out 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 remove pollutants from the air. Due to their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are thick and can limit airflow. It’s helpful to contact Gordon's Service Experts to make sure your heating and cooling system can perform properly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Clogged Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Dirty filters can harbor particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This also applies to dusty ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s smart to replace your HVAC filter around 30-60 days, but here are some signs you could need to sooner:
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