How Your Furnace Can Spark Your Allergies

Have you ever felt when you run your heating for the first time in the fall, you’re sniffling more frequently? While spring allergies usually 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 because of brisk temperatures affecting our immune systems and from cranking up our heating. This might leave you wondering, can furnaces make allergies worse in Champaign, or even trigger them?

While furnaces can’t lead to allergies, they sometimes make them worse. How? During the summer months, dust, dander and other debris can collect in heating ducts. When the winter conditions begin and we flip our heating on for the first time, all those allergens are now pushed out of the ventilation and circulate through our houses. Luckily, there are things you can do to stop your furnace from irritating your allergies.

How to Keep Your Furnace from Affecting Your Allergies

  1. Change Your HVAC Filter. Frequently replacing your filters is one of the best chores you can perform to alleviate your allergies at any time of the year. New filters are better at snagging the allergens in your home’s air, helping to keep you breathing easy.
  2. Dust Your Air Ducts. Not only do small particles collect in your HVAC filters, but in your ductwork as well. An air duct cleaning might help minimize allergy symptoms and help your HVAC system work more efficiently. When you call for an air duct cleaning, our experts review and clean components such as your supply/return ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers.
  3. Keep Your Furnace in Good Working Condition. Proper HVAC maintenance and routine checkups are another great way to both boost your residence’s air quality and keep your heating working as efficiently as possible. Before flipping your heating on for the first time, it can help to have an HVAC mechanic complete a maintenance checkup to confirm your filters and air ducts are clean and everything else is in tip-top condition.

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

Is Forced Air Bad for Allergies?

Allergy sufferers are frequently told that forced air heating may irritate your allergies even more. Forced air systems can carry allergens through the air, resulting in you breathing them in more often than if you owned a radiant heating system. While it’s accurate forced air systems may make your allergies more severe, that is only if you put off proper care of your heating equipment. Other than the tasks we listed above, you can also:

  • Dust and vacuum your house regularly. 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 additional cleaning ideas include:
    • Check your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
    • Dust ahead of vacuuming.
    • Clean your curtains routinely, as they are a common hiding place of allergens.
    • Remember to clean behind and under furniture.
  • Watch your house’s moisture levels. Higher humidity levels can also lead to worsening of allergies. Humidity supports mold growth and dust mites. Getting a dehumidifier with your HVAC system keeps moisture levels balanced and your indoor air quality much healthier.

What is the Best Furnace Filter for Allergies?

Typically, HEPA filters are ideal if you or someone in your family struggles with 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 brand or filter material. This rating demonstrates how well a filter can clean pollutants from the air. Due to their high-efficiency filtration construction, HEPA filters are deep and can restrict airflow. It’s beneficial to talk to Chief/Bauer Service Experts to ensure your heating and cooling system can operate correctly with these high efficiency filters.

Can Clogged Filters or Air Ducts Make Me Sick?

Dirty filters can trap particles and allow poor quality air to move throughout your home. This is also applicable for dusty air ducts. If you inhale these particles it can trigger sneezing, coughing or other asthma-related symptoms, depending on your sensitivity.

It’s recommended to swap out your HVAC filter every 30-60 days, but here are some signs you could need to more regularly:

  • It’s taking more time for your system to cool or heat your residence.
  • You discover more dust in your house.
  • Heating and cooling expenses are going up with no apparent reason.
  • Your allergies are getting worse.
  • Symptoms your air ducts need cleaning include:

  • The metal is covered in dust.
  • Filthy supply and return vents.
  • Mold in your furnace, air conditioner, heat pump or air handler.
  • Dust emitting from your vents when your HVAC system is working.
  • Your residence is frequently dusty, in spite of constant cleaning.

    Your health and comfort are our highest priority at Chief/Bauer Service Experts. Whether it’s furnace repair, maintenance, replacement or you are just looking for advice, our NATE-certified technicians are devoted to the job. Plus, all our work is supported by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee* for the next year. We also offer annual membership plans to satisfy your maintenance needs and make your home comfort completely easy. Call 217-689-2469 or schedule an appointment online today.

*Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage program agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.
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