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How your HVAC Unit can help you Combat Allergies

» Air Conditioning
» Air Duct Cleaning


Overview

Published: 02/14/2014 by Beth Hardwick

Photos

Beth writes on behalf of American Air and Heat, an Orlando HVAC service company that has been family owned and operated since 1986.

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you probably already know the drill before you even step outdoors: check the pollen count in your area; don’t hang wet clothes out to dry; change out of the clothes you wore outside upon returning to the house; always keep your windows closed during allergy season; etc.

Because of this last precaution, you most likely depend heavily on your heating, ventilation and air (HVAC) system to keep your homes at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Running your air conditioning also helps to filter out harmful air pollutants that can trigger allergic or asthmatic attacks. However, some studies have even hypothesized that air quality indoors can be far worse than outdoor air quality! In fact, the EPA has claimed it can be up to five times worse.

Making sure you regularly and properly maintain your HVAC system is important in and of itself; for those people whose allergies can trigger serious conditions such as asthma, however, it becomes a matter of paramount importance.

How you can make your HVAC System work for you

Take the following steps to turn your HVAC system into your ally against the onset of allergic symptoms.

·         Keep air filters clean! Change or clean the filters at least once a month. If you have a furry pet or two running free all over the house, or if it is the height of allergy season, you may need to clean or change them more often. This is especially true if you use a forced air heating system.

·         Don’t forget the inside vents. Clean the inside vents with a damp cloth at least once a week to help prevent dust from accumulating and being blown all over your house when the unit or system is on. If you can see particles stirring in the air where your vent blows into your home, it is time to take a serious look at cleaning them.

·         Hire a Pro. Have a dependable professional who specializes in heating and cooling repairsinspect and clean your system regularly. This will not only ensure your comfort, but will keep your unit or system operating efficiently, which can mean lower energy bills for you.

·         Lower the Humidity. Air conditioners are very effective at decreasing humidity. That’s why when car windows fog up, we turn the AC on to clear them up. Consider using a humidifier along with your HVAC system. Low humidity is very effective in preventing the formation of molds and the survival of dust mites and cockroaches, all of which are considered common allergens.

·         Consider an electrostatic filter. You can add an electrostatic filter, which uses static electricity to help capture allergens, to many wall-mounted and central air units.

Other tips to bust indoor allergens include: washing your bed sheets regularly (many experts recommend once a week at minimum, with pillow cases washed at least twice per week) in hot water, keeping pets out of the bedroom, and regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning carpets and upholstered furniture.

Be especially vigilant about reducing allergies in the bedroom, as this is where most people spend the majority of their time when at home, even if it is time spent sleeping.

Staying indoors during allergy season is not always possible. However, it’s good to know that it you do have to stay inside, a properly maintained HVAC system can help protect you very effectively against common allergens.