How Your AC Can Help Control Seasonal Allergies
You turn on the air conditioning and start to feel unwell. In fact, here come your allergy symptoms. Is the air conditioner making them worse? Some experts think that air conditioners can, indeed, exacerbate allergy symptoms. So, do people in Florida have to choose between allergies and overheating? Thankfully, the answer is no.
So, how can you keep your air conditioner from making your allergies worse?
Use the Right Filter
One of the problems is that air conditioners can move allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander around your home. Using a proper filter can prevent this from happening. There are three choices:
- High-MERV filters. These are filters with a high minimum efficiency reporting value rating, which removes smaller particles than typical filters. The downside is that they can use more energy. If you have a PSC motor, this can reduce air flow, but there are no problems with ECM motors. You should talk to your installer about the best filter to use.
- HEPA filters. High efficiency particulate air filters are the gold standard. Not only can these filters block most allergens, but they also pick up a lot of germs, lowering the risk of a cold or worse circulating through your family.
- Electrostatic filters. These are charged to trap more particles. They have two main sections and are placed in your ductwork. They have the advantage of being more compatible with your existing systems.
Which filter is right for you depends on your current a/c system and on the kind of allergens you are trying to eliminate.
Change Your Filters Regularly
Make sure to change your filters when the manufacturer recommends. This helps avoid allergens building up inside your air conditioning unit as well as ensuring that you get good flow and reducing strain on the motor, saving energy and extending the life of your system. You should also get your system checked and inspected in the spring before you start really needing it.
Prevent Mold in your AC Unit
AC units tend to be damp places, especially in a humid area like Florida. Mold, mildew and bacteria can grow on your AC coils, causing them to run less efficiently and distributing allergens (and sometimes toxins) into the air. One way to keep this from happening is to install a UV light purification system. These systems prevent the growth of bacteria, mildew, mold, and even viruses on the surfaces of your AC coils. You should also get your AC coils cleaned in the early spring to ensure that any residue is removed. Doing this can extend the life of your compressor as well as improving air quality.
Clean Your Air Vents
Cleaning your air vents regularly will help keep particles of dust and pollen from collecting on the vents and then blowing out into the house when you turn your AC system on. If you are having your system inspected, they may clean the vents for you, which can be particularly useful if you have ceiling grilles. (Always wear a mask when cleaning vents). Don't use cleaning chemicals on your vents as this will circulate the VOCs most contain, which can also cause allergies, through your house.
Install an In-Duct Air Purifier
If upgrading your filters would require replacing your A/C system, a cheaper alternative is an in-duct air purifier. This sits in your ducts and produces a purifying plasma which duplicates natural air purification methods and purifies the air throughout your home. For larger homes this can also be cheaper than buying additional filters.
If your air conditioning is aggravating your seasonal allergies, then you should talk to an expert about upgrading your filters and other measures you can take to keep this from happening. American Air Cares can help – contact us to discuss your options and schedule an inspection.