As temperatures begin to drop and the air conditioning is turned off, it's the perfect time to make sure your HVAC system is in good condition. A neglected system will not only function ineffectively, but it can also introduce allergens into the air: pollen, dust, pest waste, and other contaminants can settle in your unused heating system during the summer months and then be circulated throughout your home when you finally crank up the heat. However, a well-maintained HVAC system will not only operate at its full capacity - saving you heating costs - but will even help reduce allergen concentrations in the home.
As fall approaches, here are several measures you can take to ensure that your HVAC system is working together with you to reduce your exposure to allergens.
Have Your Ducts Cleaned to Eliminate Hidden Allergens
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, ï¿½If not properly installed, maintained, and operated, [HVAC components] may become contaminated with particles of dust, pollen or other debris. If moisture is present, the potential for microbiological growth (e.g., mold) is increased and spores from such growth may be released into the home's living space. Some of these contaminants may cause allergic reactions or other symptoms in people if they are exposed to them.ï¿½
The EPA goes on to state the importance of having your duct system professionally examined. While they do not recommend routine duct cleaning without evidence of accumulated debris, there are some circumstances that indicate you should consider having your ducts serviced. These include:
Replace Furnace Filters Regularly
A dirty furnace filter poses several problems: it will prevent your heating system from running effectively, thereby raising heating costs; it will cause your system to be less effective in achieving and maintaining your desired temperature; it will prohibit the capturing of particulate debris and allergens that the filters are supposed to provide.
With normal use, furnace filters should be replaced at least every three months. Keep in mind, however, that in conditions where indoor air quality may be particularly compromised, such as during pollen season, during a remodeling of a home, or if there is a smoker living in the house, filters may need to be replaced more frequently. We offer several kinds of furnace filters that are specifically selected for allergy sufferers. Filtrete's line of filters, with their superior performance ratings, offers excellent protection from indoor allergens. Choose from Filtrete's most economical filter, theMicro Allergen Furnace Filter, the Ultra Allergen Reduction Furnace Filter, or the most effective Advanced Allergen Furnace Filter.
SafeHome Furnace Filters, available as either the SafeHome Duo Furnace Filter or theSafeHome System Air Return Filter, perform double duty: they not only capture particles such as dust mite allergen and pollen, but they also absorb harmful chemicals, such as VOCs and formaldehyde, that exacerbate symptoms in chemically sensitive individuals.
Another cost-effective and system-enhancing furnace filter option is to use a permanent filter such as Newtron's Contractor's Choice Permanent Filter or the Newtron Original Permanent Air Filter. Both these filters help to maintain even temperatures throughout the home, enable faster heating and cooling, and prolong the life of your HVAC system. Furthermore, they capture 96% of allergen particles before they circulate through your home.
For additional information, see our Furnace Filter Buying Guide.
Supplement a Clean Indoor Air Routine with Vent and Window Filters
window filter protects against pollen and other pollutants that enter your home when you open the windows. This is an especially important step in fall, when ragweed pollen is prevalent.
Taking the time to maintain your home's HVAC system, especially when it comes to the proper use and replacement of furnace filters, goes a long way in protecting your family from preventable allergy attacks.