How Does My HVAC System Spread Allergens?

The HVAC system circulates air throughout the home in order to heat or cool it. When heating or air conditioning a home, the air is pulled from the home via the return ducts, passes through the filter, flows over the heat exchanger, then is distributed throughout the home through the ventilation ducts. While circulating throughout the system, the air picks up dust and other allergens such as dust mites, mold, pollen, and pet dander. This can make allergy sufferers miserable while the system is running.

How To Prevent It?

One of the easiest ways to improve this situation is to regularly replace the filter. A dirty, clogged filter can impede the airflow through it. Once it reaches a certain point, the air can no longer flow through the filter and air will flow around the filter or be pulled in through openings in the ductwork. As the filter is often located in the basement, the air pulled into the system is often even dirtier and are more full of dust and allergens than the air already circulating through the system. Interestingly, having HEPA or high efficiency filters can also cause this issue, unless the HVAC system is rated to work with them. To avoid this situation, replacing the filter regularly is critical. Generally, filters should be replaced every month or two, with households with particularly allergen sensitive residents or with pets being replaced more often.

Replace Your Air Filter

To replace the filter, the homeowner will need to locate the furnace and the return duct leading into it. The filter will likely be located near the furnace, in that duct. A portion of the duct may need to be lifted or opened to remove the filter. The filter will have an arrow on the side facing the owner that indicates the airflow direction. It’s important to note this, as the replacement filter will need to be installed in the correct direction. The filter will also have a rating and dimensions. These details will be needed to purchase the replacement filter, as existing filters will need to be replaced with the same sized filter. After the replacement filter is acquired, the process is straightforward. Simply pull out the filter, avoiding any sharp edges on the duct, dispose of it and insert the replacement. The homeowner can then replace any opened ductwork and the job is done.

If a homeowner can’t locate the filter, scheduling maintenance for the HVAC system is always an option. Another simple way to improve this is by dusting the registers and vents. A homeowner can simply dust these in every room and the return registers with a damp rag or cloth to pick up any dust and allergens. Kicking up the dust with too vigorous dusting or without using a dust-attracting duster can make the situation worse, as dust in the air in any room in the home will be everywhere eventually.

Make Your HVAC System Allergy Friendly!

Allergies can be miserable, and an HVAC system adding to that misery is unpleasant and unnecessary. Even just these two tasks can significantly reduce the amount of allergens in the air.