Make Sure Your Air Conditioner Isn't Aggravating Your Allergies

Indoor and outdoor allergies afflict approximately 40 million Americans. In addition to medication, keeping your environment clean can reduce your symptoms. All your dusting and vacuuming will be for naught if your HVAC system is spewing allergens into your home environment. Check these parts of your air conditioner to eliminate a source of allergies.

Replace Your Air Filter Regularly

All HVAC systems use some sort of filter to trap particles in the air as they pass through. This filter needs to be changed regularly, but few people bother to do so. As the filter fills up, it not only makes your HVAC system run less effectively, it also allows more allergens to pass through the filter. If you want to reduce allergens in your home, it is important to change this filter regularly. The label will have a suggested time frame, but you can change it more often if you have pets that fill the filter quickly.

In addition, you may be able to improve the quality of the filter you are using. Your system is only able to draw a certain amount of air through the filter, so you will need to talk to an HVAC professional if you want to add a large filter into your system. You may be able to increase this with some system modifications, or you might need to use room based filters to remove small allergens, such as dust mites, from the air.

Have the Ducts Cleaned

Not all the particulate will be taken out by the filter. Some of it will make it through to settle in your ducts. Part of this dust is mold spores. That, plus moisture in the air allows mold to grow in your ductwork. Even people without allergies can develop respiratory problems from mold growth in ductwork in the form of headaches and dizzyness. For those that do have allergies or asthma, mold in the ductwork is an important problem to resolve.

An HVAC tech can clean your ductwork, removing any mold that has grown there. If you are an allergy sufferer, then this is an investment you should make regularly. In addition, you can have the tech install a dehumidifier system which will help to keep the mold from growing in the first place.

Clean Your Drip Pans and Condenser Coils

Just like moisture in the ducts will allow mold to grow, moisture in the drip pans and on the condenser coils will allow mold to grow as well. The difference is that, while a dehumidifier can drastically lower the mold in the ducts, these areas are designed to have water in them. That means that all you can do is clean the area regularly to ensure that mold never gains a foothold in the area. Fortunately, these are areas designed for regular maintenance, so you can do this yourself if you do not want to pay a professional.

Have a UV Light Installed in Your System

While not a perfect solution, having a UV light installed into your HVAC system can reduce some allergens. The advantage is that, unlike filters, lights do not restrict air flow, so you won't have to worry about whether or not your system can handle the additional load. Once the system is installed, make sure to replace the bulb regularly. UV light isn't visible, but it can damage your eyes, so be sure to shut the system down and follow the directions when replacing the bulb.

Outdoor allergens are usually seasonal, but indoor allergens have the potential to make you miserable all year long. By keeping your air conditioner free of allergens you can reduce the severity of your allergies without taking additional drugs. Click here for info on other ways of maintaining your air conditioning units.