How Your Furnace Can Trigger Your Allergies

Have you ever felt when you turn on your heating 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 struggle with them. For some, fall allergies can be even worse than spring colder temps weakening our immune systems and from winding up our equipment. This may leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in the U.S., or even cause them? 

While furnaces can’t cause allergies, they can aggravate them. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other allergens can build up in heating ducts. When the winter conditions arrive and we switch our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now pushed out of the ductwork and travel through our houses. Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent your furnace from aggravating your allergies. 

How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies

  1. Get a New HVAC Filter. Regularly replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can do to minimize your allergies at any time of the year. Clean filters are superior when catching the allergens in your house’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy. 
  1. Freshen Up Your Air Ducts. Not only do pollutants collect in your HVAC filters, but in your vents as well. An air duct cleaning may help reduce allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system run more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, repair techs survey and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers. 
  1. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Order. Quality HVAC maintenance and routine checkups are another good way to both boost your home’s air quality and keep your heater running as smoothly as possible. Prior to switching your furnace on for the first time, it tends to help to have an HVAC technician complete a maintenance checkup to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in working condition. 

Allergies and recurring illness can be irritating, and it can be tough to learn what’s leading to or triggering them. Here are some common FAQs, complete with answers and suggestions that can help.  

Is Forced Air Detrimental for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are frequently told that forced air heating can irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can carry allergens through the air, leading you to breathing them in more frequently than if you owned a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems can make your allergies more severe, that is only if you ignore appropriate maintenance of your furnace. Other than the practices 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 carry them into the air, and you can’t inhale them. Some added cleaning ideas involve: 
  • Confirm your vacuum has a HEPA filter. 
  • Dust ahead of vacuuming. 
  • Clean your curtains regularly, as they are a typical harbor of allergens. 
  • Don’t forget to clean behind and under furniture. 
  • Check your house’s moisture levels. Increased humidity levels can also contribute to more severe allergies. Humidity supports 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 Best Furnace Filter for Allergies? 

Usually, HEPA filters are the best if you or someone in your family struggles with allergies. HEPA filters are rated to remove 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 deep and can limit airflow. It’s helpful to talk to Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to confirm your heating and cooling system can run properly with these high efficiency filters. 

Can Dusty Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick? 

Worn filters can harbor particles and allow poor quality air to recirculate. The same goes for dirty ductwork. If you inhale these particles it can cause sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity. 

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

  • It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your home. 
  • You come across more dust in your house. 
  • Utility expenses are increasing with no obvious reason. 
  • Your allergies are popping up more often. 
  • Signs your air ducts require 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 house is always 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 today. 

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