4 Ways to Ensure Your HVAC is Not Contributing to Your Allergies
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 26 million people living in the United States have asthma. Out of these 60% have allergic asthma that is triggered by mold, pollen, and other allergens. You can reduce shortness of breath, wheezing and other symptoms by improving your NorCal home’s indoor air quality. Cockroach droppings, pet dander, dust mites, and pollen are the main culprits of asthma and allergies in a home.
HVAC systems are designed to improve IAQ by filtering these allergens. However, if they are not optimized properly, they may blow allergens around the house. These are 4 ways you can ensure that your HVAC unit is not contributing to your asthma and allergies in any way.
1. Schedule Annual Maintenance
It is a given fact that an HVAC system hides mold and mildew if not serviced properly. Mold and mildew are known to thrive off damp and dark places. Improperly maintained systems can collect humidity and condensation in hidden zones. You may inadvertently blow mold spores and mildew into your space when you turn on a contaminated air conditioning unit.
Annual maintenance by a licensed professional can ensure the system is working as it should. The technician will clean all ductwork and change the air filters. You can keep humidity levels in check by installing a dehumidifier. 40% is said to be a good humidity level for people suffering from breathing troubles.
2. Clean or Replace HVAC Filter
HVAC filters are designed to capture debris and if you don’t replace or clean them properly, they can become overloaded with pollen, dander, dust mites and other allergens. Your air conditioner may begin blowing the allergens back into your home environment. You should try and replace the HVAC filters every 2 – 3 months or whenever they are dirty.
You can also upgrade to a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that removes 99.97% contaminants from the air. HEPA filters are categorized as per their MERV rating. These ratings score air filters on a scale of 1 (worst) to 20 (best).
3. Ventilate Your Home
When the weather turns colder, people stop using their air conditioners. You shouldn’t stop running your air conditioner just because the indoor temperature is fine. You should run it occasionally because well-insulated homes means that contaminants and pollutants remain trapped inside.
Circulate air in your home by running the HVAC system regularly for just 20 minutes. The air conditioner will pump in fresh outdoor air to ventilate your home. Programmable thermostats can be a big help with this.
4. Limit Microbes and Bacteria
Mold and mildew are not your only problem. Air conditioning systems have dark and damp environment that is a hub for other microbes and bacteria to grow. Air filters made of cardboard and cotton provide food to these microbes, leading to quick multiplication.
You should consider having your HVAC contractor deal with the explosion of microbes by installing a UV light near the evaporator. This component is responsible for drawing in heat from your home. This is also the place where microbes thrive the most. UV light can easily kill bio-organisms, such as mold spores, bacteria, and others. It can be helpful in curtailing the growth of microbes near the air conditioning unit.