5 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Fight Seasonal Allergies

5 HVAC Maintenance Tips to Fight Seasonal Allergies

The pollination season for different plants triggers allergic reactions in various people and approximately 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. In the springtime, that yellow-green coating of oak pollen is a real problem; other contributors include cottonwood, elm, ash, and pecan. During the summertime, it is hay fever season; grass pollen is prolific and travels freely through the air. Ragweed and other wildflowers trouble Texas during the fall; we welcome any rain we get to wash the pollen from the air. Even in winter, cedar pollen causes allergies that mimic cold symptoms; it is called cedar fever.

Allergic reactions to organic particles in the environment, irritate the

  • Eyes, causing watery, itchy sensations
  • Noses, causing runny noses and mucus that irritates the skin
  • Upper respiratory system, with sneezing, coughing, and swollen sinuses (congestion)
  • Skin, with hives or rashes

Your HVAC system is designed to remove allergens from the air in your home, but there are some steps you can take to enhance the removal of the airborne particles responsible for seasonal allergies. Here are five HVAC Maintenance steps to address airborne allergens with your heating/cooling system.

  1. Use Quality Air Filters. Your HVAC system has an air filter located as the return air enters your HVAC cabinet. Make sure to use the right size and look for a filter with an appropriate minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating. For most systems, a MERV rating between 11 and 13 is sufficient. They remove between 90 and 95% of particles, including pollen, mold, and mildew spores.

The key to keeping airborne allergens at bay is changing the filter regularly. In most cases, that means changing the filters every three months. However, if family members in your home have extreme allergies, you may need to change the filter more often.

  1. Clean the Pollen from Your Ductwork. Air circulates throughout your home in a series of sheet metal ducts. Any pollen that gets beyond the air filter can wind up in your ducts and if it has been a few years since they were cleaned, the accumulation of dust and pollen particles has built up inside. This pollen can be picked up to recirculate with any heating or cooling cycle. If seasonal allergies are a problem, make sure to clean your ductwork every three to five years.
  2. Keep the Fan On. Your thermostat has two fan settings—Auto and On. The Auto setting turns the fan on in conjunction with the heating or cooling cycle. The On setting turns the fan on continuously. The comparison of energy use between Auto and On is negligible and there are several benefits to using the On function.

When the pollen count is high indoors, continuously moving the air through the air filter reduces the amount of pollen still in the air. This option also works to keep the air temperature even during extreme temperature periods.

  1. Remove Humidity. Your air conditioner is designed to remove moisture from the air—as much as a few gallons of water per day. This is key to avoiding other sources of allergens—mold and mildew growth. Other sources of moisture in your home include bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchen. Care must be taken to reduce the amount of water allowed to stand about. These spaces usually have exhaust fans to remove excess moisture from the air; push the moisture outdoors for a few minutes after every summer shower or bath.
  2. Know When to Call HVAC Maintenance Professions. Ensuring that your HVAC system keeps functioning efficiently takes professional attention. Make sure to schedule an annual inspection and maintenance visit. While the technician is there, inquire about ultraviolet lights that can be installed inside the ductwork. UV light will destroy cell walls’ organic allergens, including pollen, mold, viruses, and dust mites. The inert remains can be collected by the air filter and removed from your home.

Let us help with your HVAC Maintenance!

Schedule your free HVAC Maintenance consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.