Raise your hand if you start sneezing at the first sign of spring. We went out last weekend and our eyes certainly felt that something was starting to bloom. If you're like us, while you're excited at the prospect of warmer temperatures that will finally let you and the kids out of the house a little bit, you also dread the blossoming flowers and buds forming on trees because you know it means even more time indoors as you wait out your allergies. But what if your indoor space is making your allergies even worse? Today we'll discuss 5 ways to reduce your asthma and allergy symptoms with your HVAC.
While it's safe to blame the pollen, ragweed, and other spring allergens for most of our issues, our HVAC system has the potential to alleviate our asthma and allergy symptoms as well as reduce allergens and improve indoor air quality, but only if properly maintain it. With that in mind, today we'll discuss X ways to reduce your asthma and allergy symptoms with your HVAC.
1. Start by Replacing Your Air Filters
The most common allergens found inside a home include mold, dust mites, pollen, cockroach droppings, and pet dander. Your HVAC system’s air filters are designed to catch most of these allergens when they become airborne. However, these allergens can still affect you, cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks if you neglect to maintain your HVAC system, or forget to change out those filters. By simply replacing your air filters every 3 months, you can greatly reduce the impact of spring allergens on your respiratory system.
That said, simply replacing your air filters may not be enough, especially if you are opting for the cheapest filters at your local big box store. Rather, you should be investing in a high-efficiency air filter capable of trapping even the tiniest particles. While MERV 14-16 rated air filters are pretty good, they aren't as good as a HEPA filter which has a MERV rating of 17 to 20. Unfortunately, HEPA filters aren't generally recommended for centralized HVAC systems (unless the system has been updated or designed to use HEPA filters). If you or one of your family members suffers from asthma or seasonal allergies, you may want to consult with your HVAC technician on the best filter for your system that will prevent the most allergens from entering your home.
2. Consider an Air Purifier
While centralized HVAC systems work best with medium to high-efficiency air filters, as we just discussed, a HEPA filter is the best way to really trap the tiniest particles that aggravate our respiratory system the most. Whole-home air purifiers with HEPA filters are perfect for anyone that suffers from severe asthma or allergies. Not only do air purifiers improve the entire home’s air quality, they also help everyone in the family breathe easier.
3. Check Your Ductwork
If you've replaced your air filters and/or added an air purifier, but you're symptoms continue to worsen every time your HVAC turns on, it may be time to check your ductwork. In fact, you may want to check your ducts even before adding an air purifier. We often find that our customers who seem to have the most issue have ducts that are harboring pollutants and contaminants such as dust, pollen, pet danger, and more that trigger allergic reactions.
Like any other operating system in your home, your ductwork needs regular maintenance and cleaning in order to properly function. Those ducts work hard to push air into your home. As such, joints can fail, and mold can form throughout the system. So, if you're noticing that your allergy symptoms are worst than usual, or your home just seems to have a lot of hot or cold spots, you may want a professional to inspect your HVAC system to diagnose the problem.
4. Control Humidity Levels
Another important quality when it comes to alleviating allergies is maintaining an ideal humidity level inside your home. Humidity can be a major trigger for many asthma and allergy sufferers, especially in North Carolina. If your HVAC system isn't doing an effective job of controlling humidity, you can have a whole-home dehumidifier installed to help to create a safe, comfortable living environment.
5. Upgrade Your Home with the Latest Technology
Finally, if you really want to kill bacteria, mold, and other allergy triggers before they even have a chance to spread throughout your home you may want to consider upgrading your home with the latest technology designed for families with asthma and allergies. For example, UV lamps, when used in conjunction with your existing HVAC system, will sterilize both the system’s coil and the air, killing mold and bacteria that can cause allergy flare-ups. While it can be quite expensive to implement, it's also by far the best way to ensure clean air in your home.
Do you suffer allergy or asthma symptoms? It could be time for a full HVAC inspection. Give Choice HVAC a call at 919-435-2711.