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Austin Winter Allergies - How Your HVAC Can Help You Beat Cedar

woman sneezing

As summer begins to wind down in central Texas, some Austin residents will inevitably be gearing up to brace themselves for the coming allergy season. Cooler temperatures spell relief, but with cedar in full bloom, it can be difficult for allergy sufferers to properly reap the benefits.
Your HVAC system is responsible for heating, ventilating and air conditioning your Texas home.
Here’s how your heating and cooling system can significantly reduce your allergies:

Allergens can make their way in from outside on your shoes and clothes or through microscopic gaps around windows and doors. Other allergens originate inside your home, such as pet dander, mold and mite debris.

Air filters serve a dual purpose: they reduce the amount of dirt and grime that ends up inside your HVAC system, and they catch pollen, dust and other irritants to maintain the air quality in your home.

Humidity Control
HVAC systems also remove moisture from the air inside your home, which can significantly lower the incidence of common allergies such as mold and dust mites. HVAC systems also balance your home’s humidity, providing fewer opportunities for allergens such as mold and dust mites to thrive.

Air Filters for Allergies
Air filters are rated according to the minimum size of particle they can capture and their overall effectiveness. “MERV” is the most widely used standard, although some companies may also use FPR and MPR.
A filter with a MERV 8 rating will be able to trap about 90% of allergens such as dust, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores.
A MERV 13 filter can filter out about 98% of common household allergens and approximately 90% of sub-micron particles such as smoke and bacteria.
The higher the MERV rating the more effective your filter will be at trapping the tiny particles that cheap air filters won’t catch. However, a filter’s efficacy directly correlates to how much air can flow through it, and filters rated higher than MERV 13 can actually do your system more harm than good.

The Importance of Regular Air Filter Changes
When your filter gets dirty, air can no longer more through it effectively, This doesn’t just wreak havoc on your HVAC system, it also leads to increased allergens in your home.
Regularly-changed filters are capable of trapping a range of particles that cause irritation and allergies. A regular 1-inch filter should be checked often; while they can offer up to three months of protection, 1-inch filters may need to be replaced as often as once a month.

The Importance of HVAC Maintenance
Getting regular tune-ups will ensure your air conditioner and heater continue to perform optimally, removing excess humidity from your home.
A well-functioning air conditioner can help keep home humidity levels between 30 percent and 50 percent, which will keep allergens like mold and fungus at bay.

Additional Solutions for Austin Allergy Sufferers

Whole-House Purification
While your HVAC system already uses filters, whole-house purifiers and air cleaners remove mold, bacteria, viruses, odors, and other matter that can diminish the air quality in your home.
A whole-home air purifier is installed in your ductwork, where it catches tiny particles that would otherwise have a chance to circulate throughout your home. Unlike freestanding purification machines which may trap some particles directly around the device, in-duct purifiers catch particles as they pass through your vents. These purifiers are hidden in your HVAC system where they are completely out of sight. Whether you’re using your heating or air conditioning, the air purifier is working quietly behind the scenes.

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers
Most of us are familiar with the negative effects of high humidity levels. However, low humidity can cause inflammation of the mucous membrane in the respiratory system, potentially making it easier to contract an illness. Lack of humidity control also makes it easier for dust, dander, and other irritants to become airborne and stay suspended in the air longer.

UV Lamps
Reduce bacteria, mold, mildew, and other allergens in your home with UV light installation. UV lighting can be installed right above the indoor air handler or within the ductwork. Improve your home’s air quality with UV light installation today.

Learn more about how The HVAC Cowboys can help you improve your air quality today!