Sneezing and Sniffling! Is It My AC Spreading Allergens?
Achoo! It's allergy season, and warm enough that you need your AC. Is your AC making your allergies worse?
It's common wisdom that air conditioning can spread allergens through your home, potentially making your symptoms worse. While this is a concern, a well-maintained air conditioning system can help with allergens and particles, and you don't have to choose between having the AC on and sniffling or turning it off and suffering heat exhaustion (We've all been there!)
The answer isn't to turn off your AC (unless you really don't need it), but to make sure that you keep your indoor air quality up while running it. Your home should not be a center for dust and allergens. In fact, it should be a haven from all that pollen. And yes, there are things you can do:
Change Your Filters
Your air filters are what keep your air clean. They trap and hold contaminants and particulate matter. Air filters should be changed every 90 days for most homes, but if you have allergies or pets you should consider changing the filter every 30 to 60 days. You might also consider a higher grade filter designed to help people with allergies. It may be cheaper to use an electrostatic filter that only has to be cleaned and not regularly replaced. For people with more severe allergies, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbent) filters can make a huge difference, well worth the extra cost. Unfortunately, many people think filters only need to be changed in the spring and fall. For some homes, this might be sufficient, but many people benefit from changing them more often.
Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are best used in bedrooms and home offices, that is rooms you spend a lot of time in. They need to be properly maintained. They work best in small areas and should be close to your bed or desk. In-duct air purifiers can also be an option for some homes. These units are often used in hospitals to help reduce contamination, and in businesses and schools to mitigate sick building syndrome and reduce absenteeism. They are a great way to increase indoor air quality.
Control Relative Humidity
High humidity means mold, and mold is a common allergen. Properly placed exhaust fans can make a huge difference, especially in the attic. You could also consider strategically-placed dehumidifiers. Make sure that your bathroom has an active exhaust fan and that it is functional. If you are seeing window condensation when the a/c is running, the humidity in your home is too high. You should get a humidity test done to establish whether you have a humidity problem. Tests in multiple rooms can help you tell where to put a dehumidifier to gain the biggest benefits.
Keep Ductwork Clean
Keep your ductwork, vents, and registers clean. While professional duct cleaning is sometimes considered unnecessary, it can be very helpful for people with allergens, as dust and mold that gathers in your ducts can then blow into the house. Make sure to sweep or vacuum over your vents and talk to your AC repair and maintenance company about when your ductwork should be cleaned.
If you are sneezing and sniffling at home, and it's definitely your allergies, then your AC may be both to blame and part of the solution. It's just a matter of making sure that your AC maintenance is done on time and that you are using the right equipment and filters. Proper maintenance and changing filters regularly are the biggest way to make sure that your AC system isn't just moving whatever you're allergic to around your home.
If you are looking for professional air conditioning service in Port St. Lucie, Palm City, or Martin County, American Air Cares is ready to answer all your question. Don't hesitate to give us a call!