Spring bestows upon us blossoming flowers, blooming trees, wonderful views, and of course… pollen. Pollination proves crucial for nature, but some people can’t tolerate the yellow stuff. Allergy sufferers experience symptoms including itchy eyes, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose.
For those that suffer from spring allergies, heading indoors provides some relief. But what if you continue to suffer from symptoms after taking a medicinal cocktail of antihistamines, nasal sprays, and inhalers?
One potential answer: allergens in your HVAC system negatively impacting indoor air quality. Besides pollen, other allergens include cockroaches, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. Because HVAC systems circulate air, irritants travel throughout the home if not removed through cleaning.
Don’t wallow in your allergen induced misery. Check out this handy list and take action in fighting back against allergies!
Replace AC or furnace filters
Replace or install HVAC filters in a ducted system. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filters remove allergens in addition to dust and debris normal filters capture. Look for a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) rating of 8 or higher. These ratings filter out particulates measuring 3-10 microns. Verify your AC filter compatibility before purchasing and installing a new filter.
Clean your HVAC system
While you’re doing some spring cleaning, why not clean your HVAC system too? The easiest step in cleaning your HVAC system starts with dusting vents and registers. If you’re feeling confident, you can clean your condenser or heat pump. Be sure to disconnect the power before cleaning. Don’t forget about the ductwork too! Hire a cleaning service if you don’t feel confident cleaning it yourself.
Maintain your HVAC system
Have your AC unit regularly checked. Spring offers an ideal opportunity for maintenance since a tuned system will help with seasonal allergies. Regular maintenance keeps efficiency high and operating costs low, in addition to helping with allergies.
Other helpful tips to lower the effects of allergens:
Remove Airborne Particles
- Use air purifiers to improve indoor air quality. They work to remove foreign air particles for more breathable air.
- Ensure proper seals on windows and doors. Pollen floating in from outside, affects you in your sleep.
- Regularly dust horizontal surfaces and hard-to-reach spaces. Dust mites thrive in dusty, humid environments.
- Maintain the proper humidity levels in the house. Overly dry or moist air makes breathing difficult.
- Use dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers prevent the growth of mold and mildew in high-risk places. Consider placing them in the basement or garage.
- Eliminate standing water. Moist environments present a breeding ground for pests like cockroaches.
Eliminate and Prevent Pests
- Clear clutter and trash. No mess, no pests.
- Regularly wash bedsheets and other fabrics. Dirty linen breeds dust mites.
- If you have seen cockroaches or their droppings, consult an exterminator. Cockroaches leave droppings and spread germs as they scour for food.
Consider these steps to keep fresh air circulating through your HVAC system. Whether or not you have allergies, you can breathe easier in spring when you follow these simple steps to keep airborne irritants to a minimum at home or in the office.