Can AC Maintenance Help With Allergies?
About 50 million Americans have asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Of all the types of asthma, allergic asthma affects the highest number of people, up to 60% of all those who suffer from asthma.
The easiest way to fight allergic asthma is through improving indoor air quality in your home. Better air quality can reduce symptoms such as wheezing, sneezing, and shortness of breath. Allergic asthma results from pollen, cockroach droppings, dust mites, and pet dander.
While your HVAC can filter most of these allergens, if it is not optimized and maintained properly, it will only blow the allergens around your home.
How Your AC System Removes Allergens
The filters in your HVAC system are engineered to trap allergens and keep them away from your indoor air. As such, you need to ensure that you have the best air filter to keep your air clean. When shopping, look at the MERV rating of the filter, which is a rating that shows the effectiveness of the filter.
Highly efficient filters have a MERV rating of between 14 and 16. These filters will get even the small particles, but they still perform less efficiently compared to HEPA filters. HEPA filters have a MERV rating of up to 20. However, if you are running an old HVAC system, it may not be optimized for HEPA filters. Thanks to their high efficiency, these filters put a lot of stress on an old system.
Before you go for high-efficiency filters, consult our technicians at Summit Heating & Cooling to know if your system can handle them.
With the best filters, you will reduce most of the allergens from the air.
If the AC doesn’t remove everything, you can go for air purifiers. Air purifiers also come with HEPA filters to trap even the smallest particles in the air. If you suffer severe allergic reactions, you can go for whole-house air purifiers.
How to Allergy-Proof Your AC System
If you do not maintain your HVAC system, it can become the problem it was meant to prevent. For starters, old and unmaintained systems have defective parts that lead to leakages that affect the quality of the air in your home.
Other ways the AC system can cause allergies include:
Hiding Place for Mold and Mildew
The ducts and vents in your AC system can be hiding places for mold and mildew. These two allergens love dark and damp places. If you do not maintain your system, it collects humidity in its hidden places. When the AC goes on, it circulates the mold and mildew in all your rooms and that can exacerbate your allergic reactions.
You can ensure that this doesn’t happen through regular cleaning of your AC system. During routine maintenance, one of our professional technicians will clean your ductwork and change the air filters. If the mold and mildew grow because of the humidity levels, you can install a dehumidifier to keep the humidity levels at 40%.
Filters Overloaded With Allergens
Your AC filter is highly efficient when new. Over time, the filter traps so many particles that it ends up being overloaded. If you do not clean or replace this filter, it could blow the dust and allergens back into your home, making your allergic reactions worse.
To avoid this from happening, you need to remove and clean your filters after every two months. Note that the efficiency of the filter reduces after every wash, and you have to replace it after a few washes. For the best results, pick High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which can trap even the smallest particles from the air.
If you don’t run your AC, the air in your home may become stagnant. Today, the insulation in homes prevents air from escaping with ease. As such, you have to keep the AC running even when the temperature at home is comfortable so that the allergens can escape.
To keep the AC running, you have to keep it maintained. The AC will ventilate a home by pumping out the air with allergens and pumping in fresh air from outside. You can ensure the system runs effectively by setting the running times on your thermostat.
Bacteria and Other Microbes Might Thrive on Your HVAC
Fungi, bacteria, and mites love dark, damp, and warm areas. If you never clean or maintain your HVAC, humidity might condense in it, providing a great place for the growth of bacteria and other microbes. As these microbes grow, they can get their food from filters made of cardboard or cotton.
To prevent the above from happening, you should maintain your AC to ensure that there are no leaks, no damp places, and everything runs fine. You can also add UV light to your system’s evaporator. The UV light will kill all microbes it comes in contact with.
How to Optimize Your AC System to Reduce Allergens
If your current HVAC system is not efficient even after routine maintenance, you need to step it up. The easiest way to do that is to add an air purification system.
Modern purifiers use advanced technology to kill microorganisms and trap particulates. You can install UV lamp purifiers to kill bacteria, mold, and fungi. These purifiers use UV-C from emitters such as quartz to kill microorganisms.
The UV light has the same effect as the UV from the sun. It destroys the DNA of these organisms thereby deactivating them and making them harmless. These lamps also have filters to further make the air in your home cleaner.
You can go for REME HALO Air purifiers, too, which offer a new technology to kill microorganisms. This system uses hydroperoxide plasma to clean the air. It has many other features, too, making it ideal when you need to remove particulates, gases, and microbes from the air. When used alongside your AC system, it ensures that the air in your home is completely clean.
Another way to optimize the system is to ensure that your humidity levels do not go above or below 40%. If you live in an area with high amount of annual rainfall, the humidity levels will be high. You can keep these levels low by getting a humidifier. However, do not remove too much humidity from your home as that will make the particles stay airborne for longer.
Even if you do not have these additions in your home, you can still get the best results by cleaning your system. Ensure that the system is clean at all times. The outdoor unit is exposed to dirt, rain, pollen, animal attacks, and snow among others. Because this system pulls air into your home, there is a chance that it might pull what is on its surface into your home as well.
You also need to clean the vents and ductwork and check for signs of mold and mildew while you’re at it. If you do not have the tools, knowledge, or time to do that, allow one of our professional technicians to do it for you.
Contact Us for Financing Options
At Summit Heating & Cooling we install, repair, and maintain heating and cooling systems for home and small businesses in Kansas City, MO. We service indoor air quality appliances and installations, air ducts, water heaters, air conditioners, and so many others. We also offer HVAC products from Lennox. If you need any of the products or services we offer, but you are on a budget, we can offer you financing. Call Summit Heating & Cooling and check your financing options.