Your heating and air conditioning system is your first line of defense against bothersome fall allergies. Heat pumps, gas furnaces, and air conditioners all have elements that can improve indoor air quality, while maintaining a comfortable temperature.
If you suffer from severe fall allergies that put a damper on the season’s pleasant weather, your HVAC unit can be your greatest ally. This makes autumn a great time to perform regular maintenance on your system to ensure it is running efficiently.
Fighting Fall Allergies
Most irritable fall allergies are caused by pollen released into the air by local plants. Allergy symptoms are brought on by histamine the body releases when allergens are inhaled. Symptoms include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, and itching of the eyes, nose, and throat.
While several plants can trigger fall allergies, ragweed is the most common culprit. And since this hardy plant can grow almost anywhere, it is nearly impossible to escape exposure, especially since ragweed pollen floats through the air for miles.
Adjusting Your HVAC to Reduce Allergens
By making a few minor adjustments to your home’s HVAC unit, you can minimize your exposure to ragweed pollen. Just a few small changes can have a major impact on your indoor air quality and minimize your seasonal allergies.
Upgrading your HVAC filter is one easy step to managing fall allergies. Try exchanging your regular filter for a HEPA filter. Before making the switch, just be sure to check the new filter is compatible with your system.
Another alternative is to choose a filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating. Filters with a higher value MERV rating have finer filtration mediums. This means fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants can pass through the filter reducing the amount of allergens in the air.
Whole-Home Solutions for Your Fall Allergies
To further protect your home from pesky fall allergies, consider investing in specialized indoor air quality equipment like dehumidifiers or air purifiers.
A whole-home air purifier works with your HVAC system to effectively filter the air inside your home. This is more convenient and energy efficient than using several portable air purifiers. A whole-home air purifier will trap smaller particles than the HVAC filter alone.
WHile your HVAC system alone can manage indoor humidity levels, sometimes it may need a little extra help. If you have trouble keeping humidity levels in check, you might need the boost that a whole-home dehumidifier can provide.
A ventilator also assists in reducing humidity in indoor air. They work by replacing old, stale indoor air with fresh air from outside. This may be problematic during allergy season, however since outdoor air will contain higher levels of allergy-inducing pollen.
HVAC ultraviolet lamps can be added to many air conditioning units to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria that could be affecting your health. Contact your local HVAC technician for more information about this Nobel Prize-winning technology.
Fall Maintenance for Your HVAC System
You need to take good care of your HVAC system if you expect it to work efficiently and dependably. Regular preventive maintenance will extend the life of your system, and fall is the perfect time to schedule a check-up and perform a few housekeeping tasks.
Be sure to change your filters regularly. If you have been using sub par filters or have only recently made an upgrade in filter quality, consider having your duct work cleaned.
Fall is the perfect time to schedule a maintenance check on your furnace. Your local heating and air technician can check to make sure all your system’s components are in good working order before the outside temperatures get too cold.
These are just a few ways to make sure your HVAC is working to keep your indoor air as fresh as possible. With a HVAC system in good working order, your fall allergies might be easier to live with.