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Use Regular HVAC Care to Help Control Allergy Symptoms

Allergies and asthma symptoms can be triggered by indoor air pollution. Many people don't realize that indoor air pollution levels are actually higher than outdoor air pollution levels. Common indoor allergens include mold, dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. When these particles become airborne, you can breathe them in and experience an allergic reaction.

The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system in your home can conceal and spread mold and other allergens throughout your house. Fortunately, you can make a difference in the management of your allergy and asthma symptoms through regular care of your HVAC system.

 

Optimize Your HVAC System

High-quality filters can help minimize exposure to allergens from your HVAC system. The effectiveness of filters is measured in MERVs [minimum efficiency recording value]. MERVs range from 1 to 20, with 20 providing the highest level of particle filtration. If you or a family member struggle with allergies or asthma, you’ll want to consider using highly rated air filters in your HVAC system.

There are different types of filters available, depending on your unit. Flat panel filters put in place by most furnace manufacturers, usually have a MERV rating of one to four MERVs. This type of filer is designed more to protect the furnace than improve indoor air quality. Pleated furnace filters have a higher surface area and are considered medium efficiency filters. They have MERV ratings from five to 13 and will filter more particles out of the air than flat filters.

High-efficiency filters have MERV ratings of 14 to 16. These more impactful filters remove even smaller particles than pleated filters. High-efficiency particulate air, or HEPA, filters have MERV ratings of 17 to 20 but these are not typically recommended for centralized home HVAC systems unless it is a specific type of system. The reason is that HEPA filters can be too efficient. They can actually hinder the air flow through the unit or require an HVAC system to use more energy to power the fan that gets air circulating, making them an expensive choice.

 

Regular HVAC Maintenance

The filters in your HVAC unit should be changed regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer. You may find it necessary to change the filter more often during the high pollen season. You should also follow any maintenance instructions recommended by the HVAC system’s manufacturer. Seasonal check-ups by HVAC professionals, like those at GVs Heating and Cooling, can help make sure your system is running efficiently and that any issues like mold or dirty ductwork are handled appropriately.

If you have the opportunity to build a new home or completely replace your HVAC system, consider having a unit that replaces indoor air with filtered outdoor air installed. This type of HVAC system can further increase the ventilation in your home. It can also help to reduce mold growth and other indoor pollution sources.

Another option is to invest in a whole house purifier. Whole house purifiers connect directly into the HVAC system and run in conjunction with your furnace and air conditioner. They clarify the air throughout your home using one of several types of filters to remove mold, pet dander, smoke particles, and other contaminants. Whole house purifying systems are more effective than regular air filters in regards to reducing allergens and other bothersome particulates.

One example of a widely popular whole-house air purifying system is the Perfect 16 from IQAir. This IQAir product uses high-performance, high-quality filters and has the highest efficiency for filtering contaminants from the air being circulated in your home. IQAir is a Swiss-based company that provides actual claims for their products. The performance of each installed unit is scientifically validated by the company and its authorized dealers.

The name for the Perfect 16 comes from its (non-HEPA) perfect MERV rating of 16. This system removes bacteria, dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants. The Perfect 16 doesn’t require additional energy to run because it is retrofitted into your existing HVAC system. IQAir’s high-quality filters require less frequent replacement than other filters and unit has such low air restriction, it doesn’t hamper the functionality of your HVAC system the way some other whole-house purifiers do. This IQAir product actually improves efficiency in comparison to conventional air cleaners and doesn’t produce ozone as a byproduct of its functioning like many electronic and UV purifiers do.

Whole-home air purification systems that address air quality throughout your home are available in a number of sizes and price ranges. The functionality of a whole-house purifier is impacted by the limitations of your existing HVAC system so it is important to ask your HVAC professional to help you understand the best options for your home.

Residents in the Chicago North Shore area have trusted GVs Heating and Cooling for all of their HVAC needs for almost 30 years. GV’s offers annual maintenance service to help you be proactive in finding problems early and emergency service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To learn more about keeping your indoor air quality high, for questions about your HVAC system, to schedule maintenance, or discuss the installation of an IQAir product, contact the experts at GV’s Heating and Cooling.