How to Keep Your Home Healthy This Cold and Allergy Season

Dust, dander, pollen, mold, bacteria, and other substances constantly circulate through the air in your HVAC system. When the air in your home is too polluted, it worsens breathing problems, irritates allergies and increases the risk of catching colds and other viruses. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep the air in your HVAC system clean, helping to prevent colds and allergies.

Replace Your Air Filters Regularly

When your air filters become clogged with dust, pollen, dander, and other debris, their ability to effectively filter out pathogens, allergens, and particles decreases drastically. Therefore, to ensure that your air filters are always working as efficiently as possible, you should change all air filters in your HVAC system every three months.

Choosing the Right Air Filters

To achieve the best possible filtration for your HVAC system, choose high efficiency particulate filters, also known as HEPA filters, or minimum efficiency ratio filters, also known as MERV filters.

Ordinary air filters catch airborne dust, pollen, and dander, but they're not very effective at catching smaller amounts. HEPA filters feature a unique, tightly woven mesh that captures 99.99% of all airborne particles and pathogens, including bacteria, mold spores and even tobacco smoke. The disadvantage of HEPA filters is that the extremely small holes make it difficult for air to flow through them efficiently. Systems with HEPA filters require more energy to force enough air through the filters for heating and cooling to work efficiently.

MERV filters do not require additional energy, unlike HEPA filters, and provide about the same level of filtering in an HVAC unit as long as the performance is high enough. MERV filters with a rating of 13 or higher are nearly comparable to HEPA filters in their efficiency at capturing 99.7% of all airborne particles and microorganisms.

Regularly Clean Air Ducts and Vents

Dust, pollen, bacteria, allergens and other particles collect in air ducts and vents as air flows through the system. Even when the air is properly filtered, it is still common for these pathogens and debris to become airborne as they are flushed through dirty ducts and vents.

Air ducts should be thoroughly cleaned every three years to protect them as best as possible from particles and microorganisms. Professional cleaning services are required to clean most parts of your air ducts as you only have direct access to small parts of the ducts. Attempting to take them apart and clean them yourself can be dangerous or damage your plumbing. Air vents should be wiped or vacuumed about once a month.

Maintain Healthy Humidity Levels

High humidity creates a breeding ground for mold, dust mites, and bacteria, which increases the odds of getting airborne viruses and aggravating allergies. Conversely, when humidity is too low, mold, dust, pollen, insect carcasses, and insect fecal matter within air ducts dry up, break into fine dust, and enter the air. Low humidity also causes mucus membranes to dry up and respiratory systems to struggle, making it more difficult for your body to fight illnesses.

It’s important to maintain a humidity level of 40% to 50% within your home. This level creates the best moisture balance in the air and helps cut down on allergens and pathogens.

Have an Air Purification System Installed

While a quality air filter in your HVAC system is an important step in protecting your home from pathogens, allergens, and other airborne particles, a dedicated air purification system is the absolute best line of defense for your home. Air purifiers clean and disinfect the air in ways that air filters cannot, using UV light or ionizers to kill microorganisms in the air instead of just trapping them.

FAQs about How to Keep Your Home Healthy This Cold and Allergy Season:

Q: How can my HVAC system help me combat colds and allergies?

A: Your HVAC system can help you combat colds and allergies by circulating clean, filtered air throughout your home. This can help to reduce the number of allergens and pathogens in the air, which can help to prevent you from getting sick.

Q: What are some specific tips for using my HVAC system to combat colds and allergies?

A: Here are some specific tips for using your HVAC system to combat colds and allergies:

  • Change your air filters regularly. Air filters trap dust, pollen, mold spores, and other allergens. Changing your air filters regularly will help to keep your air clean and free of allergens.
  • Install a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are designed to trap even the smallest allergens and pathogens. If you have allergies or asthma, installing a HEPA filter in your HVAC system can be a great way to improve the air quality in your home.
  • Clean your ducts. Ducts can collect dust, dirt, and other debris over time. This debris can become a breeding ground for allergens and pathogens. If you have allergies or asthma, it is important to have your ducts cleaned regularly.
  • Seal any air leaks. Air leaks can allow allergens and pathogens to enter your home through your HVAC system. Sealing any air leaks in your home can help to improve the air quality and reduce your risk of getting sick.
  • Run your HVAC system on a regular basis. Even if you are not home, running your HVAC system on a regular basis will help to circulate the air and keep it clean.
  • Get your HVAC system serviced regularly. A qualified HVAC technician can inspect your HVAC system and make sure that it is working properly. This can help to ensure that your system is circulating clean, filtered air throughout your home.

Q: What are some other things I can do to combat colds and allergies?

A: In addition to using your HVAC system to combat colds and allergies, there are a few other things you can do to help keep yourself healthy:

  • Get plenty of rest. When you are well-rested, your body is better able to fight off infection.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet will help to boost your immune system.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise helps to improve your overall health and can also help to reduce your risk of getting sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you can, avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you do come into contact with someone who is sick, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Our trained technicians at Bannister Plumbing & Air offer numerous HVAC services to reduce viruses and allergens in your home, such as, Duct cleaning and installation of air cleaners. We also offer heating and air conditioning repairs and installations, HVAC system inspections and a full line of plumbing systems. To learn more about the services we offer in the Jacksonville area, contact Bannister Plumbing & Air today.