It happens every year. We get a taste of spring weather and think it's finally safe to come outside after months of bitter cold temperatures. Then the pollen starts blowing in, forcing us all back inside for a few more weeks. Pollen spores are among the most difficult allergens to avoid, even inside. While there are simple things you can do to prevent pollen from coming inside, such as keeping windows and doors closed during peak pollen hours (5 am to 10 am), there are several other ways to address the issue. As such, today we'll discuss 3 ways to keep pollen out of your HVAC system this Spring.
1. Keep pollen out of your HVAC System by using HEPA Filters
Replacing your air filters every 3 months is a habit we fully endorse. However, many people mistakenly believe that standard air filters will protect them from seasonal allergens such as pollen. Unfortunately, a standard air filter only prevents large dirt and debris particles from damaging your HVAC equipment. While these filters can prevent some level of dirt and debris from coming into your home, if it were to 100% filter these particles, you wouldn't have any trouble with dust collecting on your furniture and floors.
As such, to remove allergens from your indoor air, you want a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are the absolute best HVAC filters to prevent seasonal allergens such as pollen out of your HVAC system, and your best defense at protecting your lungs and sinuses. Made of layers of glass fibers formed into pleated paper-like material, HVAC air filters are designed to trap more than 99 percent of pollen, dust, smoke, and other tiny particles that wreak havoc on our respiratory system (look for a MERV rating of 17 or higher).
That said, we should know that HEPA filters cannot be used in all HVAC systems. While HEPA filters do filter out 99% of the "bad stuff," they also tend to decrease airflow which can cause performance issues. Therefore, your system may need to be modified to allow for HEPA filter usage. Give us a call to discuss the specific needs of your HVAC before buying one of these higher-efficiency filters for your home.
When using HEPA filters, you must replace filters at least every other month OR MORE!
Much like we regularly tell you with regard to changing all air filters, HVAC systems obviously work better when they have clean air filters. While a standard air filter must be changed at least every 3 months, HEPA filters need to be changed much more often. We suggest starting with every other month and going from there. If you have severe allergies or the pollen count gets unruly, you may want to change your HEPA filter once a month.
Alternatively, you can use reusable/washable filters. Just make sure that you are actually washing them on a consistent basis.
2. Keep pollen out of your HVAC System by having your Ducts Cleaned
Another way to keep pollen out of your HVAC system is to clean your ductwork. HVAC systems are designed to draw outside air in and then filter it for our comfort. As such, dust, pollen, moisture, and other allergens tend to collect in your cooling and heating ducts. From there, your air conditioner and furnace circulate air throughout your home, which means that all of that dust, pollen, and other allergens (including mold spores from the moisture) are circulated throughout your home.
With that in mind, if your allergies (or asthma symptoms) seem to be worsening or you've recently undergone a renovation, or you've had an insect/rodent infestation, or you've found visible mold in and around your HVAC, OR you've just never had your ducts cleaned, we recommend that you have a professional air duct cleaning to improve your indoor air quality and improve allergy symptoms.
3. Keep pollen out of your HVAC System by scheduling a maintenance appointment
Another key way to keep pollen out of your HVAC system is to maintain your system by keeping regular preventative maintenance appointments for your HVAC equipment. If you haven't put an appointment on our schedule, make sure to give us a call.
It is our job to check all components of your HVAC system. That includes checking for dirty cooling coils, fan motors and blades, drain pans, and other parts of the system that can cause contaminants and moisture to enter your ductwork. Anytime you have too much moisture, mold can grow. Oftentimes, simply having a maintenance check can get to the root cause of your allergy-related problems.
If any parts of your system are dirty, we can either clean or replace those components. It's important to address these problems early as dirty equipment can put a strain on your system which increases your utility bill and will cause your system to age faster than it should.
By regularly taking care of your system, you can prevent pollen and other allergens from taking over your indoor living space and making allergy symptoms worse. Give Choice HVAC a call at 919-435-2711 to schedule an appointment.