Allergies are quite common, especially when seasons change or when there is a significant change in temperature and humidity. As you adjust your northern California home’s HVAC system to heat or cool your indoor spaces, you may notice conditions like sneezing, runny nose, coughing, redness of eyes, or other allergic reactions. While these could be caused due a variety of reasons, your home’s HVAC system plays a big part in this.
Allergies and HVAC – how are the two related?
Allergies from airborne particles can frequently occur due to your HVAC system. The HVAC system is the main ventilation system for your home and provides the air you breathe. If allergens and contaminants get into your HVAC system, these are circulated around your house along with the conditioned air. Residents may suffer from HVAC related allergies, especially at the start of a season, when the system has been switched on after a long period of time. This does not mean that you are allergic to HVAC systems, but to the pollutants that have entered it.
How to prevent HVAC related allergies?
Now that you know how HVAC allergies occur or spread, you can take appropriate measures to ensure that dust, pollen, and other contaminants do not get into your system.
Regular cleaning and maintenance is absolutely essential for your HVAC system to be functioning well and to avoid accumulation of dirt and debris in it.
2. Installation of filters
All HVAC systems have in built filters. But these are only meant to keep large particles and debris out of the unit. This is more so for the safety and proper functioning of the unit rather than for your health. So, if you want extensive air filtration, you must invest in high quality air filters such as HEPA, for example.
You can choose different types of air filters. Those with a high MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating are efficient, last longer and can trap even the smallest of particles in the air. Filters with a MERV rating of 10 or above are a good choice.
A HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air Filter) filter consists of densely packed glass fiber layers as opposed to paper and is highly efficient in trapping small particles like bacteria, pollen and mold, blocking almost 99% of the contaminants that cause allergies.HEPA filters need to be changed at least once a month; more so if you have a lot of allergies or if your system filters get clogged soon.
You could also choose washable and reusable filters. But these need cleaning more often.
3. Duct care
All the conditioned air from your system is transported around the house through the ductwork. The ductwork can be the main source of your allergies if it is not cleaned and maintained regularly.
Duct cleaning is important if you have recently renovated your house, if you suspect insect or rodent infestation, if there is mold growth or even if your allergies are worsening.
Duct maintenance will include inspection, cleaning, repairing of leaks and replacement of air filters if needed.