Using your air conditioner can cause your allergy symptoms to flare up if you aren’t utilizing the right indoor air quality practices and products.
Ideally, you are well aware that your central air conditioning system has a filter in it that you should change on a regular basis (every 1-3 months, to be exact—it depends on the type of filter and the level of contaminants in your home). A clean air filter helps your cooling system operate as it should. What it won’t do, however, is filter out all the allergens and contaminants that can cause you to have flare-ups.
The standard air filter is actually designed with the purpose of protecting the air conditioner itself. It should provide a basic level of filtration, but may not be all you need. In fact, it probably isn’t. Read on as we explain.
How Particles Get Circulated in Your Indoor Air
When your home is sealed up tightly—all your doors and windows are closed—you don’t need to worry about your air-conditioned air getting out, right?
Well, as efficient as it is to keep your home sealed up like this, it doesn’t do much for your indoor air quality. Particulates and airborne contaminants have no way to get out of your home, and therefore whatever isn’t caught by the standard air filter (which isn’t a whole lot—remember, improving your indoor air quality isn’t the purpose of this filter) gets blown back through and around your living space when air comes rushing through your vents.
The Limitations of a Standard Air Filter
Your home’s HVAC systems have air filters in them to stop particles from getting inside the air conditioner or forced-air heater so the HVAC system doesn’t accumulate damage. Some air filters are designed to block small particulate like pet dander, but since the air filter is on the intake side of your air conditioner, anything that doesn’t get trapped just circulates back into your home.
“So, What Can I Do to Protect My Indoor Air Quality?”
If you do want better air quality without sacrificing the use of your air conditioner, there are certain steps you can take. Homeowners and household members with allergies or asthma symptoms will greatly benefit from adding the right indoor air quality products and services to their home solutions. These include:
- UV Germicidal Lights: Also referred to as a UV air purifier or air cleaner, this is an excellent addition to any ducted HVAC system. How it works is that it tackles harmful bacteria like mold and mildew, right at the source—the cool, dark, and often damp crevices of your ductwork.
- Air Filtration: The air filter that comes standard with your air conditioner might not be enough to manage those pesky allergies, but a whole-house air filtration system certainly can be! This system has a much larger surface area than a standard air filter and is designed specifically to trap particles and allergens.
- Electronic Air Purifier: This is a type of air purifier that charges particulate in the air so it clings to a metal plate in the system, to later be cleaned off. Though it does require action on your part, this is better than having dust and other allergens settle on the other surfaces of your home.