If you're an allergy sufferer, living in a home with forced air heating can be a struggle. These types of heating systems are known for dispersing allergens like dust, mold spores, and pet dander through the air. However, with forced air heating being so common, it can be hard to find a home that doesn't use this type of heating system. Luckily, there are some ways to make forced air heating more friendly to allergy sufferers.
Upgrade to a HEPA filter.
The cheap, one or two-dollar fiberglass air filters may be good enough for those without allergies, but as an allergy sufferer, it is well worth your while to invest in a HEPA filter instead. HEPA stands for "high-efficiency particulate arrest." To qualify as a HEPA filter, a product has to remove 99.97% of particles that measure 0.3 micrometers. This includes most mold spores, pet dander particles, and other allergens. Some allergens might sneak through a regular air filter, but they won't get through a HEPA filter. Slide your standard filter out of its slot in or near your furnace, and slide a HEPA filter of the same size into its place. Then, remember to replace the filter as often as the filter package recommends. (Often, this is every two or three months.)
Have your ducts cleaned.
Allergens tend to accumulate within the air ducts, and you can't reach in there deep enough to remove them with a regular vacuum cleaner. So, have your ducts professionally cleaned to reduce the number of allergens your HVAC system is blowing around. Expect to pay $300 - $500 for this service. It will be money well spent when you're not feeling itchy and sneezing constantly.
Add a humidifier.
When the air is dry, allergens tend to be more bothersome. When your forced air system causes them to become suspended in the air, they linger there for a while and are easily inhaled. When the air is more moist, these particles become more weighed down. So, they fall out of the air more quickly and are not as easily "sucked up" into your HVAC system, either.
If the air in your home is dry, adding a humidifier to your HVAC system will help alleviate allergy issues. If adding a whole-home humidifier is not in your budget, you can simply run a portable vaporizer in the room you spend the most time in while the heat is on.
Moving into a home without forced air heating is not an option for everyone. If you suffer from allergies and must live in a home with forced air, follow the tips above to minimize symptoms. Contact an HVAC contractor, like One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, for more help.Share