Have you ever caught when you turn on your furnace for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more frequently? While spring allergies often 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 thanks to cooler weather affecting our immune systems and from winding up our heating. This might leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in the Niagara Region, or even cause them?
While furnaces can’t create allergies, they sometimes make them worse. How? During the warmer months, dust, dander and other debris can accumulate in heating ducts. When the colder temperatures hit and we switch our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ventilation and travel through our houses. Luckily, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from worsening your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies
- Get a New HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best tasks you can do to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. New filters are superior when catching the allergens in your house’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles harbor in your HVAC filters, but in your ventilation as well. An air duct cleaning could help minimize allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system perform more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, repair techs check and clean components including your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Quality HVAC maintenance and scheduled service are another excellent way to both improve your residence’s air quality and keep your furnace working as effectively as possible. Before flipping your furnace on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC technician perform a maintenance checkup to ensure your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in tip-top working order.
Allergies and frequent illness can be annoying, and it can be difficult to discover what’s leading to or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, along with answers and tips that can help.
Is Forced Air Harmful for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are typically told that forced air heating might 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 had a radiant heating system. While it’s true forced air systems can make your allergies more severe, that is only if you avoid proper care of your furnace. Other than the practices we included already, you can also:
- Dust and vacuum your home often. 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 extra cleaning ideas include:
- Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Dust in advance of vacuuming.
- Clean your curtains regularly, as they are a common collector of allergens.
- Make sure to clean behind and under furniture.
- Check your residence’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also contribute to aggravating your allergies. Humidity enables mold growth and dust mites. Getting a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels in check and your indoor air quality much better.
What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Typically, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your home struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 99.97 to 99.99% of particles, like 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 remove pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow. It’s helpful to talk to Niagara Home Services by Enercare to ensure your heating and cooling system can operate right with these high efficiency filters.
Can Clogged Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Worn filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. This is also applicable for filthy ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related issues, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to replace your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some indications you may need to sooner:
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