Using Your HVAC to Combat Fall Allergens

Some of us just don’t get a break from allergies. Just as summer allergies to grass pollen abate, fall rolls around and we find ourselves sniffling, coughing, sneezing and wheezing at a new round of pollen, possibly from trees or fall-blooming flowers. While we can’t do much about containing allergens such as pollen while we’re outdoors, there are some things you can do while you’re indoors, and that involves enlisting the help of your HVAC system.

Read on for help on controlling your fall allergies with your HVAC system.


Change the air filter.

The air filter will not capture airborne particulates nearly as well if you don’t change it often. HVAC systems need good air flow not only to condition the air, but also to properly remove particulates in the filtering system.

Use a good quality air filter.

A cheap fiberglass filter is not dense enough to capture the smaller particles of pollen that may be recirculating in your home and setting off your allergic reactions. A dense, pleated filter, rated 8-12 on the MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) scale, is your best defense.

Look into an air cleaner.

There are a number of different types of air cleaners, and the type you choose will depend on the kind of allergen that you want to control. If pollen is your problem allergen, you might want to look into an electrostatic filter for your HVAC system. These filters are permanent, and therefore more expensive than disposable filters, but they last a long time. They work by attracting particles with an electrostatic charge. They do require periodic cleaning.

If your allergies are extremely severe, you may want to acquire an air cleaner with a true HEPA (high efficiency particulate) air filter. A HEPA filter will not work in your HVAC system unless the system is modified to accommodate this ultra-dense type of filtration. Air flow would be slowed down so that the HVAC system wouldn’t cool or heat properly.

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