Have you ever noticed when you turn on your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re wheezing more than usual? While spring allergies often get a harsher reputation, fall allergies are still very common and affect many. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring thanks to cooler temps affecting our immune systems and from starting up our heating. This may leave you considering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Houston, or even lead to them?
While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they could make them worse. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other pollutants can build up in heating ducts. When the cold temperatures hit and we turn our furnaces on for the first time, all those allergens are now circulated through the ventilation and travel within our homes. Thankfully, there are things you can do to keep your furnace from worsening your allergies.
How to Keep Your Furnace from Worsening Your Allergies
- Change Your HVAC Filter. Routinely replacing your filters is one of the best things you can complete to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. Fresh filters are better at trapping the allergens in your residence’s air, helping to keep you healthier.
- Dust Your Air Ducts. Not only do particulates collect in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning might help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you schedule an air duct cleaning, our experts inspect and clean components like your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
- Keep Your Furnace Well Maintained. Quality HVAC maintenance and scheduled tune-ups are another great way to both increase your residence’s air quality and keep your heater performing as efficiently as possible. Before switching your furnace on for the first time, it could help to have an HVAC technician complete a maintenance checkup to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in tip-top shape.
Allergies and frequent illness can be discouraging, and it can be tough to pinpoint what’s creating or aggravating them. Here are some common FAQs, along with answers and suggestions that might help.
Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?
Allergy sufferers are usually told that forced air heating could 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 owned a radiant heating system. While it’s correct forced air systems might make your allergies worse, that is only if you put off appropriate upkeep of your heating equipment. Other than the things we listed above, 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 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 hiding place of allergens.
- Make sure to clean behind and under furniture.
- Watch your home’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also lead to worsening of allergies. Humidity causes mold growth and dust mites. Adding a dehumidifier to your HVAC system keeps moisture levels under control and your indoor air quality much better.
What is the Ideal Furnace Filter for Allergies?
Usually, HEPA filters are a strong option if you or someone in your home struggles with 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 type. This rating reveals how thoroughly a filter can remove pollutants from the air. As a result of their high-efficiency filtration materials, HEPA filters are dense and can limit airflow. It’s important to talk to Church Services to ensure your heating and cooling system can operate correctly with these high efficiency filters.
Can Dirty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?
Dirty filters can harbor particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This is also applicable for filthy ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related problems, depending on your sensitivity.
It’s recommended to swap out your HVAC filter after 30-60 days, but here are some indications you could need to sooner:
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- It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your house.
- You come across more dust in your home.
- Heating and cooling costs are going up with no obvious reason.
- Your allergies are popping up more often.
Signs your air ducts could use cleaning include:
- The metal is covered in dust.
- Dirty 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 house is always dusty, regardless of frequent cleaning.
Your health and comfort are our first priority at Church Services. Whether it’s furnace repair, maintenance, replacement or you just need advice, our NATE-certified staff are dedicated to your home. Plus, all our services are supported by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for the next year. We also offer annual membership plans to modernize your maintenance needs and make your home comfort truly simple. Call 713-396-3760 or schedule an appointment online right away.