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
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states, “If 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.”
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:
- Substantial visible mold growth inside hard surface ducts or other components of your system. Wet or
moldy insulation on insulated air ducts cannot be effectively cleaned and should be replaced. Note that not
everything that looks like mold is necessarily mold and you may need to have samples professionally evaluated at a
laboratory. Also, make sure to correct conditions that caused mold growth in the first place; otherwise, the
problem will recur.
- Pests living inside ducts. Insects living inside air ducts can deposit unhealthy debris that may
circulate throughout your system.
- Ducts clogged with excessive dust or debris that is released into the home through supply
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, the
Micro 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 the SafeHome 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
Web vent filters fit easily into your web vents and
provide additional protection against dust and other particles that could make their way into your home. Self-
charging electrostatic material traps allergens, acting like a last line of defense before offending material makes
its way into your indoor air.
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.