Skip to content Skip to footer

Tips To Use Your HVAC Unit To Alleviate Allergies From Expert Air

Summer is here, and with it comes an increase in allergens. Allergies might seem a mild inconvenience, but if you’re one of the more than 50 million Americans suffering from seasonal or year-round allergies, you know that they’re no joke. Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States. The common symptoms of allergies can easily be mistaken for COVID-19, which gives you more incentive to avoid them. But did you know that you can use your home’s HVAC system to help mitigate allergies? Find out how below!

What Exactly Are Allergies?

Before we get into how to tackle handling allergies, it’s helpful to understand what they are and how they work. We will focus on airborne allergens instead of allergies that some people have to drugs, chemicals, or foods. Allergies can have many causes, including ragweed, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, cockroach droppings, mold, soiled carpeting, bedding, or upholstery. Which might be causing your allergies depends on your environment, but pollen is generally the most likely culprit. While airborne allergies are not usually immediately life-threatening, they can cause long-term health issues and are generally unpleasant to deal with. Possible symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, red, and watery eyes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion

If you persistently have any of these symptoms, they may be caused by airborne allergens. Note that many of these symptoms are similar to those from COVID-19. You can avoid a lot of stress and anxiety over your condition if you mitigate allergens and eliminate the COVID-19 virus as a cause. You can do this with your HVAC system.

Clean Your HVAC Unit

If you want to alleviate your allergy symptoms, you should first clean your HVAC unit and the area around it. Your outdoor unit is exposed to the elements and may have its vents blocked by leaves, twigs, and other debris, causing air to circulate poorly. Even worse, the unit itself might be covered in allergens like pollen and mold spores, which enter your home through your HVAC system. Keeping your unit clean will help ensure that your HVAC system isn’t contributing to the problem. Clean your unit regularly, at least once a year, to avoid this problem.

How To Clean Your Outdoor HVAC Unit

To clean your unit, start by turning it off. Sweep up any debris accumulated around the unit, so the debris don’t block the vents or get sucked in. Then remove the protective grille from your HVAC unit and clear away foreign matter like dust and dirt. You may need to use a vacuum to remove more stubborn areas of contaminants. Be careful with the spinning metal blades. These are your condenser fins, which can easily be bent out of shape or broken off if you are rough with them. Once that’s down, hose your unit down with fresh water. Once it has dried, turn it on again.

Clean Your Air Ducts

Your air ducts should help keep allergens like pollen, dust, and mold spores out of your home. These passages heat, cool, and ventilate your home by delivering and removing air. But if they aren’t clean, they might be delivering allergens directly to you! Allergens can hide in dirty air ducts and be vented into your home. Mold, in particular, can cause problems from growing in your air ducts.

Causes and How To Clean

Mold will typically grow in air ducts when ventilation has been blocked. This blockage can create a warm and humid atmosphere with ideal conditions for growing mold. You have to be sure to dust your vents and your registers. Use a microfiber dust cloth or a wet rag to wipe away dust particles. You should notice an improvement in your air quality right away.

Use High-Quality Filters

One of the most important contributors to air quality in your home is having high-quality filters in your HVAC system. HVAC filters are measured by their level of particle filtration. This is referred to as the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV. MERV ratings go up to 20, but to combat allergens, it will probably be more helpful to go for MERV rating 8 filters. This is because the lower-rated filter is more efficient at catching smaller particles, including common allergens.

Change Your Filters

No matter how efficient your filters are, they will have to be changed eventually. By design, filters catch particles you don’t want in your home -pollen, dust, mold spores, and so on. This design means that they can become clogged and dirty relatively quickly. Some homeowners are disappointed in the performance of their HVAC system, only to discover it’s because they have neglected to change their filters! We recommend changing your filters about once every three months. If you have pets that cause dander, a change every two months is wise to deal with the added hair.

Control the Humidity

If the humidity in your home rises or lowers too much, it can exacerbate your allergies. High humidity creates conditions where dust mites and mold thrives, while low humidity levels can clog your pores and dry out your skin. Most HVAC systems have a dehumidification process to help regulate humidity levels, but you can also purchase a humidifier or a dehumidifier, depending on your needs. Another easy way to control the humidity in your home is to keep your windows and doors shut while your HVAC system is running and seal any cracks or holes around them that might be letting in excess humidity. Ideally, your indoor humidity will be below 60%.

Schedule Regular Maintenance Inspections From Expert Air

The most effective, efficient, and affordable way to use your HVAC system to fight allergens is to have your unit regularly inspected. Scheduling regular maintenance inspections puts the eyes of a professional on your HVAC system and can help catch minor problems before they become big problems. Not only does this extend the longevity of your system by cleaning and replacing worn parts, but it is also the best way to ensure your HVAC system is doing its all to keep your air fresh and clean. So don’t make yourself suffer from allergies any longer than you have to! Schedule an appointment with the professionals at Expert Air today!

Leave a comment