AchooAllergy.com Blog

Furnace Filter


Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Spring allergy season is in full swing. How do I know this, you ask? Easy. When the sneezing around the office sounds like a veritable spring symphony. When the tissue box is always empty. When the gunk coming out of the nose resembles the gunk caked all over everything outside. When visible clouds of pollen literally waft from the trees, prompted only by a slight breeze. For all of these reasons, I know, and if you have allergies, you likely do too. Even if you don't have allergies, the pollen can be so thick it makes it difficult to jog (felt like I was jogging in a dust bowl last week). While there isn't anything you can do to change the pollen-bomb that is going off outdoors, there are a few things you can do keep the inside of your home comfortable. Fortunately, many people already have in place some of the tools they need to keep pollen out, but as with any good tool, keeping them working correctly is key them performing at their best. More simply put, this means Birds, Bees, Pollenreplacing your filters.

From the HVAC system and stand alone, HEPA air purifier to your vacuum cleaner or screens you use in your windows, there are a variety of places filters are trapping pollen, dust, and other allergens in your home. Let's walk through some of these areas and see what cleaning or replacing needs to be done for each filter type.

As the most far reaching home system, central heat/air or an HVAC is common in the modern American home. Unless they are very old, they all should have a filter of some sort. Originally, these filters were meant to keep the blower and motor free of debris, but as time has passed, the filtration of these filters has increased so not only do they protect the HVAC system, but these filters act as your first line of defense against allergens. Unless you have a permanent or semi-permanent filter (like a Newtron), you must replace these filters. Every three months has been, and continues to be, the recommended replacement interval, and 3M remains the most popular brand of replaceable furnace filters.

The next common type of allergen trapping device in the home is the stand-alone air purifier. The most common type is a HEPA air purifier that is rated to remove 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. This level of filtration covers all types of pollen, but the styles, sizes and filtration that an air purifier employs can vary widely. Inexpensive models like the 3M Filtrete have filters very similar to your HVAC filter and should be replaced every three months. Austin Air Purifiers - Simple Design, Superior ResultsOther brands like Austin Air, IQAir, or Blueair have filters with longer time intervals before replacement. Blueair models typically offer six months of filter life while Austin offers 3-5 years (and IQAir tucked in between). Some models, like the IQAir HealthPro series have an additional coarse dust prefilter that, during this time of year, can be particularly helpful. This filter attaches to the bottom of the unit and filters out visible particles, much like the pollen you see that has collected on the hood of my truck. During the spring when the pollen is the heaviest, this is a great way to extend the life of the other filters in your IQAir while getting rid of more pollen. In all, the majority of air purifiers have replaceable filters. Washing Your Vehicle is a Losing Proposition in SpringCheck the manufacturer instructions for times or get in touch with us, and we can help.

Nearly every home has a vacuum cleaner, and many of these have a HEPA filter. Unless you have a model like a Dyson, which has a washable filter, the HEPA filter in your vacuum should be replaced every year. For washable filters, you will want to wash/rinse them every 3-6 months. Vacuum filters are really only as good as their weakest part. You can have the best HEPA filter in the world, but the vacuum is leaky and allows air to escape as you clean, then you're not getting what you paid for. Prior to purchasing, check that the vacuum not only has a HEPA filter, but also a sealed system, and better still, independent testing actually verifying the filtration claims. In general, replace your HEPA vacuum filter.

Vent or register filters are also popular in many homes. They often target visible debris and dirt. While this doesn't necessarily help you with allergies, they can help to trap the visible pollen. These filters can often simply be rinsed, allowed to air dry, and then replaced.

Last but not least are window filters. These are twist on traditional window screen. Screens are great because they let air in but keep insects out. During the spring, screens also allow ALL of that pollen to come indoors. Window filters are like a screen but only with a layer of filter media in them. They do reduce air flow, but the trade off is they block the vast majority of visible and even many of the microparticles in the air. Best of all, many of these now have replaceable filters, so you no longer have to toss the whole screen after use, simply replace the filter/screen layer.

Regardless of what you're using to help keep your indoor air clean, remember to replace or clean the filters regularly. It can mean the difference between waking up feeling tired, gunky, and congested or refreshed and ready for the day. Not only does it help to keep your home free of allergens and pollen, but this basic maintenance can dramatically extend the life of the appliance or system and save you big bucks down the road.

Author: K. Gilmore


And now for a gratuitous baby pic of my sleeping goddaughter.

When You Breathe Better, You Sleep Better



Posted by kevvyg on Friday, May 18, 2012
Back in April of this year, we interviewed local allergist Dr. David Redding. Recently he was featured in a couple videos on the Weather Channel. In these, he goes over some in-home tips on how to reduce allergens. From using pillow covers and a high quality HVAC filter to vacuuming your mattress, Dr. Redding highlights areas throughout the home, hidden allergens that can reside in these places and how to reduce or eliminate them.

To read our April interview with Dr. Redding.

For more Weather.com videos.

Posted by shifrah on Saturday, October 22, 2011
Fall is in full swing – and with it autumn allergies. The prelude to winter allergy woes, fall allergies are one of the worst seasons for those who suffer from allergic conditions. Ragweed pollen and mold can be especially prolific at this time of year, setting off the sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and general allergy malaise we know all too well.

In addition to the fundamental repertoire of allergy avoidance products such as air purifiers, allergy bedding, and a HEPA vacuum cleaner, specific allergies or allergy seasons call for particular allergy relief products.

Following are two allergy relief products that every allergy sufferer should have on hand in order to minimize fall allergy symptoms:

Window filters: Opening windows is excellent for letting fresh air circulate throughout homes that have been shut up against summer heat. But don't let in pollen along with that cool fall air! Window filters allow for circulation without the introduction of allergens into the home.

Masks: When taking care of fall yard work, masks are an absolute must for allergy sufferers. The combination of fallen rotting leaves and the dampness caused by rain creates mold and mildew that can trigger an onslaught of allergy symptoms. Wear a mask while raking and doing other outdoor chores to prevent mold exposure and the problems it causes.





Posted by Jamie on Wednesday, May 18, 2011
HVAC Filter Photo Contest


Do you need a year of cleaner air? Would you like to breathe better in your own home? 3M furnace filters are a must for your home HVAC system. Indoor Air Quality is a growing concern for everyone not just allergy and asthma sufferers. If you want better protection from particles that are present inside and outside your home, take a few minutes to check out your furnace filter, take a picture and post it to our Facebook wall. You will be entered to win a year's supply (4 pack) of 3M furnace filters. Check out the poster above or visit our page for contest details.

The 3M Filtrete furnace filters capture household allergens such as mold spores, pet dander, and dust mite allergen, as well as larger particles, like hair, dirt and dust. Using charged fibers that act like tiny magnets to attract and capture particles, these filters help control bacteria and other airborne pathogens from your home environment. 3M Filtrete furnace filters are disposable and should be changed every 3 months. They offer far superior filtration than conventional furnace filters. So whether you need a HVAC filter, furnace filter or air conditioner filter, 3M has a filter to meet your needs.


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