Many people might not think about allergies as much during the winter. While some get a break from pollen and other outdoor allergens, especially in the warm and hot Carolina seasons, a lot of people try to deal with indoor allergies. These allergens, such as mold and dust, can get worse in the winter, and that’s when we’re usually indoors more often.
How these allergens can make you sick is very unpleasant and can even lead to worse problems. It can also make the cold weather feel worse, and have a worse impact, on you and your family.
However, winter allergens can be fought and lessened with the right maintenance and know-how about your home’s HVAC system. Let’s go over what allergies may pop up more in winter. Then, how can you minimize the harm they can do?
Common Winter Allergens
It helps to start out knowing what allergens can gather in your home more often in the winter. Some are there year-around, but may take more of a toll combined with winter weather and people – or even our beloved cats and dogs – spending more time inside. There are steps you can take to reduce these issues. Some involve care for your HVAC system, some are just some common sense ideas you can try.
* Animal Dander – You might not see as much of the dander, shedding and mess your cute, little fur babies leave in the spring and summer. They and you are outside more. When everyone’s inside more, unless you’re very diligent about vacuuming and dusting, it’s probable you’ll have more hair and dander in your home environment. So if this is an allergen to you already, it’ll likely aggravate you. If you have a dog who loves the snow, this might be a great, fun time to go out and play. However, the wet pup comes in the house. He tracks the moisture and mess back in and this can create a tougher allergen issue.
* More Moisture – There are other ways you might be bringing more humidity and natural allergens into your home. If you use firewood, it may be damp, even slightly, when you bring it in and use it. Wood can have other allergens on it, such as mold and other small particles that goes into your air. If you love a real Christmas tree, this is an unpopular idea, but you can think about going to a fake tree to cut down on moisture, dust and pollen you’ll be bringing into your living room.
* Mold – As the weather gets colder, plants, yards and even microscopic bits of dirt and dust gets tracked inside more often. This cold, wet, organic material has fungus, mold and other potentially allergen matter. This is where basic, but sometimes neglected HVAC care, such as keeping up with filter changes, may help quite a bit.
* Warm Winters – For those who live in regions with little or no real winter, and it stays warm, plenty of plants keep growing all winter and pollen continues all winter.
Your home’s HVAC and Help Against Winter Allergies
An HVAC system can help fight winter allergies, and allergies all the time, or it may lead to more problems. It should give you a cleaner, safer home environment. It’s important to keep your system properly maintained. Here are recommendations that will help during the winter.
* Change Filters and Use High-Quality Filters – Filters will keep allergens out of your home, but only if you keep them clean and effective. Better filters, such as a HEPA filter, can remove microscopic particles, bacteria and viruses. Filters should be checked and changed every 1-3 months. This can depend on what’s recommended and the specifics of your house such as pets and health needs.
* Look for Mold – Mold likes damp, dark, and in the winter, warmer places. Spots in an HVAC system can be ideal places for mold in the winter when the heat’s on more often. So, inspect the ducts, drip pan, drain, evaporator coils, and air handler more often in winter. From once a month to more often if you suspect something or have someone in your home who’s more susceptible to specific aller
gens. In addition to creating allergic reactions, mold and mildew can cause other serious illnesses if it builds up. Call a professional to clean and prevent mold if you have a major problem.
* Clean Vents and Registers – Many people clean and dust their homes just fine, but maybe forget vents and registers. This includes up on the ceiling. Any heating or cooling air goes through here before reaching you. Anything on here will affect the air quality and what you’re breathing in. Use a damp cloth or safe cleaning solution to dust and clean all these openings. It’s smart to have an annual professional check and cleaning of all vents and ducts.
* Remove the Mess Around HVAC Units – Outdoor units need to pull in air from outside to inside your home. If dirt, mulch, leaves, plants, debris or trash is close to or right against the machines, it’s impacting the indoor air quality of the whole house. This can happen, and you should be checking it, year-aro
und. In winter, ice and snow can cause debris to gather near or on a unit. It’s helpful to clear the area around HVAC units. This isn’t for a landscaping magazine cover, but to keep stuff from making the system dirty. If you can sweep and vacuum the area right around the heating and AC units, this is an additional good step.
* Call a Specialist – While you can look after a lot of the routine maintenance for your HVAC system, it’s important to have scheduled, complete maintenance from an expert. They can keep your system clean and effective and make certain your system is maximized for combating allergies.
At South End Heating and Air we specialize in HVAC repair and service agreements , call us for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your heating needs. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.