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Your home is your refuge, but it probably doesn’t feel that way when you or your loved one is sneezing and sniffling from indoor allergens. The good news is that a knowledgeable air conditioning service can help you breathe more easily at home.
A large study of allergy testing shows that one in five Americans is allergic to at least one of 11 common allergens, and the rate of sensitivity is increasing across the country, particularly to substances like mold and ragweed. The Great Lakes region, including St. Paul, MN, is no exception to the trend; allergies to common ragweed are really on the rise here.
A solution is to close your windows and turn on the air conditioning when you know that outdoor allergens are at elevated levels. However, they can still find ways to get into your home. Also, many people are sensitive to other allergens, like mold, dog or cat dander and dust mites. If you live in an urban area, allergens from cockroaches can be a concern too.
Watch Out for These Signs
Itchy, watery eyes, a congested and runny nose, sneezing and fatigue are some of the symptoms of allergies and hay fever. This adverse immune response can also trigger or worsen conditions like asthma, resulting in wheezing and shortness of breath.
What can you do to keep indoor allergens out of your house? The first place to look is at your home’s indoor air quality, which is closely tied to its HVAC system. With a few simple steps and the help of a qualified air conditioning service, you can greatly reduce the number of irritants that get into your home and feel relief from the unpleasant symptoms of allergies and allergy-induced asthma.
Change HVAC Filters
Your HVAC system has filters that are designed to stop airborne allergens from getting into and circulating around your home. However, they can only do their job effectively if you change them regularly. Most HVAC service pros recommend that you check the filters once a month and swap them out with new filters if they’re showing a buildup of dust. Dirty filters will not only clean the air less efficiently, but they will also blow allergens around indoors.
Use HEPA Filters
When you swap old HVAC filters with new ones, make sure you’re using high-quality replacements. If there are any allergy sufferers in your home, it’s worth it to choose HEPA products that filter out microscopic particles to lower the number of allergens in the home. A filter can only be rated as HEPA if it removes at least 99.97% of airborne contaminants. Air conditioning service companies keep high-quality HEPA filters in stock.
Look for Mold
The components of most HVAC systems are in dark areas where they’re also exposed to moisture, like the humidity in the air. It makes sense to have the ducts and other HVAC parts inspected routinely by an air conditioning service to make sure that any mold or mildew is removed, keeping allergens to a minimum.
Keep Humidity Under Control
With an average annual percentage of 70.0%. St. Paul, MN, is known for having high humidity all year-round. An HVAC system that’s working right should help to control the humidity in your home, but depending on your home’s exact circumstances, an add-on dehumidifier for the HVAC system can be an immense help. Aim to keep humidity levels at or below 60%, with 40% being ideal for most households.
Another way to control humidity levels is to have leaky ducts sealed with AEROSEAL® duct sealing by an air conditioning service. This reduces the amount of damp air and moisture that gets into the ducts that could negatively impact air quality.
Controlling the humidity keeps you more comfortable and reduces the chances of mold and mildew growth indoors. Lower humidity is also less favorable to allergy-inducing dust mites. An HVAC service technician can recommend the best setup for your air-quality needs.
Clean Indoor Vents
Air that’s coming through vents or registers will blow any dust that’s on them into the home. Make sure to add a quick dusting or vacuuming of all HVAC vents and registers to your regular cleaning routine. If you schedule a professional air conditioning service visit, the technician could clean the HVAC system thoroughly as part of routine maintenance.
Make Sure Outdoor Units Are Clean
Check outside to make sure there isn’t a buildup of dirt or any kind of debris on any outdoor HVAC units. If there’s a buildup or they get clogged, they’ll be less effective at filtering the fresh air that enters your home. Keep the area around the unit clean. Sweep around it and vacuum if possible. This type of maintenance is something that could be performed by an air conditioning service as well.
Use a UV Light Air Purifier
A UV light air purifier is a smart addition to your home’s air filtration system. It kills up to 99.9% of airborne bacteria and other microorganisms that could be circulating in your home. The result is cleaner air that’s healthier to breathe because it contains fewer mold spores, bacteria, viruses and other irritants.
Install an Air Exchanger
Another device that can help reduce irritants in the home is an air exchanger. Many allergens are carried into the home by people and pets. You can prevent those from building up indoors with an air exchanger that continually exchanges old, stale air in the home with fresh air from the outdoors. Of course, that fresh air is thoroughly filtered to remove irritants before it enters the home.
Optimize Your HVAC System for Allergy Relief
If you’re suffering from allergies at home, improving your HVAC system can make an enormous difference in how you feel. Please contact the air conditioning service experts at Blue Ox Heating & Air today to learn more. We can make sure your existing system is in top shape. We can also recommend enhancements to improve the air quality and allergen-related comfort levels of your home. For everything from installation to maintenance, we’ve got you covered for air conditioning service in St. Paul, MN.